After starting the season 6-19 at home, maybe the best solution for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers was to head to the road. They had started out the 2015 season 3-9 away from Appleton, but two games into their 11-game road trip they have added two wins to that total, as they have beaten the Burlington Bees for the second night in a row, 6-3.
Last night it was outstanding pitching that gave the Timber Rattlers the win. Tonight their pitching staff delivered again, but it was the hitters putting up five in the first inning that made the pitching staff’s job a whole lot easier on this evening.
Justin Anderson started for the Burlington Bees, and he entered the game looking quite impressive. The right-hander was undefeated in his three decisions and had looked pretty solid in his previous three starts. The Timber Rattlers were not impressed.
Monte Harrison led of the game with a line drive that hit off the Burlington third baseman and squirted away allowing the hustling Harrison to reach second. Alan Sharkey followed with a double of his own, scoring Harrison and making it 1-0. Elvis Rubion followed with a single to put runners at the corners with no one out. Dustin DeMuth followed by reaching on an error that scored Sharkey to make it 2-0. One out later another error brought home Rubio to make it a three-run lead. A ground out by Brandon Diaz scored DeMuth and two batters later Greg McCall doubled into the center field gap, scoring Diaz.
That made the score 5-0 and, despite the fact that Anderson gave up the five runs and three doubles, his defense did him no favors. Two errors kept the inning alive. In fact, three of the runs that scored in the inning were unearned.
Staked to the early lead, Wisconsin starter Milton Gomez took over from there. He allowed a single run in the third when Brandon Gildea tripled to lead off the bottom frame, and scored on wild pitch, but otherwise Gomez was incredibly poised and in command. The right-hander went 5 innings, allowed 4 hits and 4 walks, but only one runner crossed the plate. He also struck out 2.
Tyler Linehan pitched in the sixth for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and allowed a single run despite the fact that he did not allow a hit. Caleb Adams drew a lead-off walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. One batter later Adams moved to third on another wild pitch and scored on a ground ball out.
In the top of the seventh Wisconsin got the run right back. Sharkey walked and one out later went to third on a double by DeMuth. Sthervin Matos hit a fly ball to left field that was deep enough to score Sharkey, and the score was 6-2.
In the eighth Burlington scored another run. With one out Natanael Delgado was hit by a pitch by Luis Ortega. Trevor Gretzky ran for Delgado and moved to third on a double by Adams. Ryan Seiz hit a sacrifice fly to score Gretzky and the Bees were back within three.
That would be as close as they would get. Despite allowing the run, Ortega completed the last three innings to get the save, his first. Ortega allowed 2 hits and a run in 3 innings of work, while striking out 5.
Gomez (3-2) was the winner for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Anderson (3-1) took his first loss of the season.
Game 3 of this series is tomorrow night at 6:30 local time. Orlando Torrez (0-2, 4.94) will start for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
By Robert Pannier