Block, Bullpen One-Hit Chiefs in Skid Snapping Win
Davenport, Iowa - Having lost back-to-back games since clinching the top seed in the postseason, the Quad Cities River Bandits blanked the Peoria Chiefs 2-0 on Saturday behind five no-hit innings from A.J. Block at Modern Woodmen Park.
In his 16th High-A start of the season, Block and Peoria starter Logan Gragg each worked a perfect first inning, before Aaron Antonini's infield hit and a walk by Tyler Reichenborn gave the Chiefs two men on for what would be their only time in the ballgame, but Block struck out Matt Chamberlain looking to end the frame.
After both starters worked a scoreless second, Kale Emshoff drew a leadoff walk against Logan Gragg in the bottom of the third. Two batters later the Chiefs' righty induced a potential inning-ending grounder off the bat of Maikel Garcia, but threw the ball into center field while trying to start the double play. With men on the corners, Eric Cole took the first pitch he saw down the first base line and plated Emshoff for a 1-0 lead. The next batter, Nick Loftin, extended the lead to two and capped off a six-pitch at-bat with a sacrifice-fly that scored Garcia from third.
Now working with the lead, Block retired six-straight batters to conclude his 10th River Bandits' start of at least five innings and struck out Chamberlain again for his sixth total strikeout to the game to the bottom of the fifth.
Midway through the sixth, Antonini's infield hit was changed to an error, officially giving Block a five-inning no-hit performance as Patrick Smith retired Peoria one-two-three to preserve the now no-hitter through six.
With Gragg done after five innings of his own, Nathan Eaton drew a leadoff walk against reliever Enmanuel Solano in the bottom of the sixth, but the righty then retired six in-a-row over his next two innings to keep Quad Cities from insuring the lead.
In the top of the seventh, Rubendy Jaquez did all he could do in an attempt to keep the no-hitter intact, but Pedro Pages legged out an infield hit up the middle for Peoria's first knock. However, Smith used a pair of strikeouts and a pop out to strand the man at first.
Quad Cities nearly broke into the run column again in the bottom of the eighth, drawing three-straight two-out walks against Solano, but Leonardo Taveras was able to get Gavin Stupienski to flyout to keep it a two-run game going to the ninth.
Will Klein, who retired the side in order in the top of the eighth, picked up a six-out save and concluded the Bandits' sixth shutout win of the season by setting down the top third of Peoria's lineup in order in the ninth, including another pair of strikeouts.
With Smith (2) and Klein (4) earning a hold and a save respectively, Block (4-5) got the win for Quad Cities as the Bandits struck out 13 combined batters, while yielding just two base runners.
Gragg (2-7), despite allowing two unearned runs and striking out six in five innings, got the loss for Peoria.
The River Bandits will look to avoid their first series loss at home this year on Sunday, as Christian Cosby (4-3, 4.48) will toe the rubber against the Chiefs' Mac Lardner (0-4, 6.51). First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. CDT at Modern Woodmen Park.
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High-A Central League Stories from September 11, 2021
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