Starting the current homestand with an offensive thud, the Quad Cities River Bandits ended the six-game stretch with an exclamation mark.|
Behind a season-best run total, the Bandits scored a 17-6 win over the Great Lakes Loons on Tuesday night at Modern Woodmen Park. Five days after starting the homestand with two runs in a frustrating loss, QC begins a six-game road swing one night after scoring two runs or more in four innings.
Entering the game, the Bandits (15-8) tallied 39 runs in their previous 10 games at Modern Woodmen Park.
"The offense was it tonight," said Bandits manager Omar Lopez, whose team heads to South Bend having won four of its past five games. "That was good to see. The guys have a little more confidence and are starting to make some progress."
Seven spots in the lineup recorded at least two hits, with cleanup hitter Jesse Wierzbicki belting three in six at-bats. Each spot scored one run.
QC led 5-1 entering the sixth before plating seven runs, with catcher Jobduan Morales providing a grand slam over the right-field fence. Two innings later, Roberto Pena belted the Bandits' second home run, this time with a runner on first and two outs.
Despite the home runs, QC showed it did not have to rely on the big inning. Pena's two-out double in the first plate Carlos Correa, giving the Bandits a quick lead. They added three more in the second on run-scoring hits from Correa, Terrell Joyce and Teoscar Hernandez.
Besides the hitting, the Bandits showed plate discipline. Leading the Midwest League in walks, they added 11 more to the total.
All that allowed QC to overcome an uncharacteristic performance from its top pitching tandem. Joe Bircher and Vincent Velasquez allowed six runs on 10 hits in 7 1/3 innings, the most. Before this outing, the duo had not allowed more than five runs or eight hits.
However, the night belonged to the offense.
"We won a lot of games early in the season by scoring five, six runs in one inning," Lopez said. "They know we can do it. What we have to do is be selective. That's what we do. That's the key with those kids."
Extra bases: Prior to the game, the Bandits placed third baseman Rio Ruiz on the seven-day disabled list with what Lopez called a minor oblique/back injury. Ruiz, whose stint on the DL was retroactive to Monday, suffered the injury one day earlier. Brian Blasik was recalled from extended spring training. ... Correa was hit by a pitch on the right hand in the seventh inning. He ran the bases after getting hit for the third time in the series, but did not return for the eighth. Lopez said no X-rays are scheduled unless Correa's hand shows swelling today. ... The win puts QC a season-best seven games over .500. ... The Bandits' 17 runs were the most they scored in a game since June 11, 2012. ... Tuesday's series finale drew 1,536 fans.
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