Four RBI from Castellanos not enough
Alex Castellanos homered and drove in four runs for the Quad Cities River Bandits, but a four-error frame in the top of the seventh helped the Dayton Dragons to the decisive three runs in an 8-5 loss on Thursday night at Modern Woodmen Park.
Quad Cities (21-18) has lost the first two games of the three-game series, marking just the first time in seven home sets this season that the Bandits have failed to win a series at Modern Woodmen Park. Despite owning the worst record in the Midwest League, Dayton (14-26) has streaked to wins in five of their last six games - helped along by six errors and eight unearned runs over the last two games.
The River Bandits had pulled to within 5-3 when a series of defensive misplays led to three unearned runs in the top of the seventh. A fielding error by first baseman Osvaldo Morales and a throwing error by shortstop Niko Vasquez allowed the first two batters to reach. One out later Humberto Sosa lifted a flare to right-center, but a diving attempt by Paul Cruz came up short and allowed the first run of the frame to score. Kevin Coddington followed with a bouncer to third, but the throw from Castellanos to second pulled Brett Lilley off the bag as another run crossed the plate. There were two away when Dave Sappelt lined a single to center, driving in Sosa for an 8-3 lead as Frederick Parejo muffed the pickup in center for the fourth error of the inning.
Those unearned runs proved to be the difference. Castellanos launched a two-run homer in the bottom of the frame to cap a four-RBI night, pulling Quad Cities to within 8-5. But the River Bandits would not erase the three-run deficit.
Lance Janke (1-1) earned the win with five three-run innings, while Hector Cardenas (3-2) suffered the loss after 3.1 innings of three-run ball. Aguido Gonzalez (4) worked a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth for the save.
The game's first crucial sequence came moments after first pitch, as the Dragons used two singles and a walk to load the bases with nobody out in the top of the first. But River Bandits starter Hector Cardenas was up to the challenge. The Dominican left-hander struck out Stephen Chapman for the first out of the frame, and then induced a 6-4-3 double play from Carlos Mendez to escape the inning unscathed.
The scoreless tie remained until Dayton broke through against Cardenas in the fourth. Mendez started the rally with a double to left, while Cody Puckett promptly launched a two-run homer onto the berm in left. After a pitching change brought piggyback starter Andres Rosales into the game, two straight walks loaded the bases with one out. Miguel Rojas then drove in a pair with a single up the middle, and Byron Wiley added a run-scoring double as the Dragons jumped out to a 5-0 lead.
Quad Cities took advantage of a Dragons' defensive blunder in the fifth to get back into the game. With two on and two out, Castellanos sent a routine fly ball to center. But Andrew Means lost track of the ball and got a late break in, eventually diving for it but failing to make the catch. After two runs scored on the double, Lilley lined a single to right that scored Castellanos and pulled Quad Cities to within 5-3.
UP NEXT: The River Bandits continue their homestand on Friday with a post-game fireworks extravaganza in addition to ALS Association Night and Biker Night. Then a Rockin' Saturday rolls in with a Pete Kozma bobblehead giveaway and Habitat for Humanity Night. A U.S. Bank Family Sunday with a Salute to Apples theme in honor of the visiting Fort Wayne TinCaps before the homestand concludes on Monday, May 25, with Senior Citizens Day at a special Noon start time.
ABOUT THE BANDITS: Under new ownership and management in 2008, the Quad Cities River Bandits topped 207,000 fans for only the sixth time in team history and the first time in 12 years. Having recently completed one of the most successful seasons in the history of the franchise - and with a renewed dedication to fans, sponsors and the Quad Cities community - the return of the River Bandits has brought a resurgence of support for the team. Banditwear, season tickets and mini-plans, and individual game tickets are on sale for the 2009 season by calling (563) 3-BANDIT or heading to www.RiverBandits.com. But hurry - good seats are going fast!
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Midwest League Stories from May 21, 2009
- Four RBI from Castellanos not enough - Quad Cities River Bandits
- Missed chances doom 'Caps - West Michigan Whitecaps
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- Bees Use 16 Hits in Ten-Run Win - Burlington Bees
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