Originally Posted Online: April 29, 2013, 7:56 pm
Last Updated: April 30, 2013, 12:11 am
Bandits tag team pins down win
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By Steve Tappa, firstname.lastname@example.org
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Mizener|
Quad Cities River Bandits starter Brian Holmes fires a pitch towards the plate during the third inning of the Bandits matinee game versus the Great Lakes Loons at Modern Woodman Park, Monday April 29, 2013. The home team cruised to a 6-1 victory to improve their record to 14-8.
Batman and Robin. The Crusher and Dick the Bruiser. Peanut butter and jelly.
The Quad Cities River Bandits are hoping to add their current pitching staff to this list of all-time great tag teams.
With the Houston Astros organization utilizing a daily rotation of tandem starters, the hometown minor league baseball team has enjoyed its share of early-season success, and Brian Holmes and Jordan Jankowski paired up for the latest gem Monday in a 6-1 win over Great Lakes at Davenport's Modern Woodmen Park.
The duo teamed on a 14-strikeout, two-walk, four-hit performance and came within a strike of spinning the QC squad's second shutout in four days.
"Our pitchers set the tone," QC manager Omar Lopez said. "We didn't play good defense. We made three errors. But we made the plays when we had to make them. I don't like to see guys with their heads down. I want to see fighters. I need warriors."
QC's two hurlers certainly fit the bill during a rare morning start for 2,579 fans.
Holmes (2-2) fanned 10 in the first five innings, but allowed the Loons (11-12) an unearned run when Eric Smith made QC (14-8) pay for a miscue with a two-out double.
Jankowski (first save) also was dominating in QC's bounce back from a blown lead the day before against the Los Angeles Dodgers' Class A Midwest League affiliate.
"It was one of those rare days where I had everything going for me," Holmes said. "Then I had a 10-15 miles-per-hour wind blowing at my back, so I knew I could challenge them with the fastball, get ahead in counts and then mix in off-speed pitches.
"With three days rest and a pitch count, the tandem lets you get into a groove. It almost feels like you're always pitching. It's nice because you're always sharp."
The Bandits' bats again produced six runs, the same as during Sunday's 10-6 loss, but Lopez liked his team's improved approach to the game.
"Our meeting after the game (Sunday) worked,'' said Lopez, who harped on consistency. "We had the game (Sunday) in our hands, and we let it go because we made mental mistakes, because we didn't have a good approach. So that was my main goal (Monday)."
QC claimed the early lead when a catcher's error on a two-out strikeout led to a pair of unearned runs in the third inning. Jesse Wierzbicki had an RBI single in that frame.
The Bandits pushed the lead to 4-0 in the fourth on a two-run single by Terrell Joyce. Joe Sclafani (RBI single in the seventh) and Jobduan Morales (two-out RBI double in the eighth) added insurance runs to answer the Loons' lone score in the fifth.
However, QC's tag team really pinned down the win.
"We don't pitch to strike out people. We pitch to contact," Lopez said. "But everything was right there, with them chasing. We pounded the bottom of the zone and then changed their eye level."
Extra bases: Jesmuel Valentin is the 18-year-old son of 16-year big-league veteran and current Fort Wayne manager Jose Valentin. ... The Loons' shortstop, Corey Seager, also owns major league ties, with his brother Kyle the starting third baseman for Seattle.