DAVENPORT — It took a couple of Kane County infielders to quiet the Quad Cities River Bandits’ bats Saturday.
After six straight River Bandits had reached base with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning and QC had scored five times on its way to an 8-2 Midwest League win, the Cougars turned to an infielder to figure a way out of the predicament.
Joey Rose delivered, coaxing inning-ending groundouts off the bats of Alex Holderbach and Carlos Machado to get out of a jam in front of a crowd of 6,049 at Modern Woodmen Park.
By then, the damage had been done.
A one-out single by Freudis Nova and double by Wilyer Abreu positioned Austin Dennis to break a 2-2 tie when he drove a run-scoring single to center.
Following a walk to Grae Kessinger to load the bases, Trey Dawson deposited a two-run single into center.
C.J Stubbs followed by clubbing a two-run double to the base of the wall in center, giving QC a 7-2 lead that ended the day for Cougars reliever Andy Toelken and brought Rose in to pitch for the first time this season.
A reserve third baseman hitting .196 in 45 games for Kane County this season, Rose was a sixth-round draft pick of the Diamondbacks in 2016.
The first of two position players to pitch for Kane County during the game – KeShawn Lynch pitched in the eighth – handled his responsibilities Saturday. Rose retired the only two batters he faced before Kai-Wei Lin took the mound to open the bottom of the sixth inning.
Lynch gave up a single to AJ in an otherwise uneventful eighth, completing 1.2 innings of shutout work on the mound by Cougars position players.
That came after Dennis added to the River Bandits’ lead in the sixth, scoring Nova with a sacrifice fly to center after he had walked and advanced on Abreu’s second hit of the game.
The run Dennis drove in was the season-high eighth of the night for QC against Kane County, a pitching staff which had surrendered an average of 2.6 runs in 15 games this season against a River Bandits’ team which has averaged 4.69 runs in its other 111 games in 2019.
“They’ve shown good arms against us all season,’’ QC manager Ray Hernandez said. “It’s generally been tough for us to put many runs on the board against them, but we aren’t alone.’’
Cougars pitchers arrived at Modern Woodmen Park with a league-leading 2.86 team earned run average, giving up a league-low 462 runs.
Expected to make an abbreviated start Saturday, Levi Kelly exited with a 2-0 lead after the first three batters he River Bandits faced in the fourth inning reached base, an inning which saw QC answer a two-run third by the Cougars.
Dennis opened the inning by driving his fourth triple of the season to the gap in left center and scoring when Kessinger sliced a base hit through the left side of the Kane County infield.
Kessinger then tied the game at 2-2 when he scored from second on a wild throw to first by the Cougars’ David Garza in an attempt to turn a double play following a grounder to third by Alex Holderbach.
The fourth-inning runs matched the offense Kane County collected in the third when Zack Shannon followed a two-out single by Dominic Fletcher with a two-run double into the corner in left.
Buxton, Bandits: QC could get a chance to compete against its second major-league player in less than two weeks when it opens a three-game series at Cedar Rapids beginning Wednesday.
Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with the Kernels beginning today, working his way back from a left shoulder subluxation which put the .262 hitter on the 10-day injured list on Aug. 3.
“He’s one of the top two, three center fielders in the big leagues and it’s always good for our guys to be around players like that,’’ River Bandits manager Ray Hernandez said. “We’ll try to get him out, just like any other player, but it’s a good chance to see how guys like prepare and compete.’’
Buxton’s arrival comes after Twins outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. went 2-for-15 at the plate during four games in a rehab stint with Cedar Rapids during a series against QC from Aug. 17-20.
Roster move: Outfielder Carlos Machado returned to the River Bandits lineup Saturday, activated from the seven-day injured list prior to the series opener against Kane County.
He replaces outfielder Ramiro Rodriguez, who was placed on the seven-day injured list after being hit in the knee by a pitch during Friday’s win at Peoria.
On deck: Kane County at QC, 5:15 p.m., today. Probable pitchers: Kane County, Adrian Del Moral (2-3, 3.61 ERA); QC, Matt Ruppenthal (5-6, 4.15)