The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers rallied from a 7-2 deficit to tie the Peoria Chiefs 7-7 in the top of the sixth inning on Sunday afternoon. Then, Osvaldo Tovalin had one last, big hit in him against the Timber Rattlers as he hit a two-out, three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to put the Chiefs back in front and on their way to a 13-8 victory.
Peoria (12-6 second half, 45-39 overall) had the pressure on Wisconsin starting pitcher Edwin Jimenez from the start. The Chiefs loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first on a double and two walks. Jimenez escaped the jam with a 6-4-3 double play.
In the bottom of the second, the Chiefs had runners at second and third with one out after a walk and a double. Tyler Reichenborn followed with a two-run triple. Then, Alex Iadisernia singled through the drawn-in infield to score Reichenborn and give the Chiefs a 3-0 lead.
Wisconsin (9-9, 35-47) rallied for two runs in the top of the third with a little help from Reichenborn. Jheremy Vargas singled to start the inning. Robert Moore followed with a single to right and Reichenborn misplayed the ball to let it get behind him. Vargas had scored and Moore was standing on third base by the time the ball got back into the infield. Joe Gray Jr. got the Rattlers to within a run with an RBI grounder.
The Chiefs put Jimenez right back into the fire as the first five batters to hit in the bottom of the third reached base. RJ Yeager doubled, and Jimmy Crooks singled to start the inning with runners at first and third. Ramon Mendoza followed with a bunt single to score Yeager. Tovalin followed with a single to left to score Crooks. Then, Jeremy Rivas singled to load the bases.
Thomas Francisco and Reichenborn plated the final two runs of the inning with consecutive sacrifice flies to put the Chiefs up 7-2.
Ernesto Martínez Jr started the Rattlers on the comeback trail with a lead-off homer to left-center in the top of the fourth. Martínez has homered in three straight games and now has nine homers on the season.
The Rattlers scored three times in the top of the fifth inning. Moore was hit by a pitch and Matt Wood singled to start this rally. Martínez delivered a two-out single to score Moore. Then, Ben Metzinger got the Rattlers back to within a run on a double to center. Metzinger has driven in at least one run in his last four games.
Je’Von Ward got the Rattlers back to even with a lead-off home run to left in the sixth inning. The homer was Ward’s fifth of the season and this one tied the game 7-7.
However, Peoria went back in front, and it was Tovalin with the big hit against the Rattlers again. Reliever Nick Merkel had a runner at first with two outs and a 1-2 count on Mendoza. The Chiefs second baseman kept the inning alive with a single to left. Tovalin followed with a no-doubt, homer to center on a 1-0 pitch and the Chiefs were up 10-7.
Tovalin played in twenty of the twenty-one games between the Timber Rattlers and Chiefs this season. He was 25-for-77 (.325) with fourteen extra-base hits, including three homers, and nineteen RBI against Wisconsin in 2023.
Gray tried to start another Wisconsin comeback when he hit his tenth homer of the season to open the top of the eighth to bring the Rattlers back to within two runs.
The Chiefs didn’t give the Rattlers any hope as they scored an unearned run on a two-out single by Nathan Church in the bottom of the seventh. Mendoza capped the scoring with a two-run home run in the bottom of the tenth.
The win gave Peoria the series win after the teams had split the first two games of the series. This was the first series loss for the Timber Rattlers since May. Wisconsin was 2-0-5 in their last eight series.
The Timber Rattlers are off on Monday. They will continue their road trip with game one of a series against the Dayton Dragons at Day Air Ballpark on Tuesday night. Stiven Cruz (4-5, 6.39) is the scheduled starter for the Timber Rattlers. Kevin Abel has been named as the starting pitcher for the Dragons and will make his Midwest League debut. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05pm CDT.