Behind a 10-strikeout day from their starter, A.J. Block, the Quad Cities River Bandits put an end to a three-game losing streak and took the series finale from the Peoria Chiefs with a 5-2 victory on Sunday afternoon at Modern Woodmen Park.
In a rematch of game one starters, Block and Chiefs’ hurler, Michael YaSenka dominated the first third of the matinee by combining to punch-out 13 batters, including six out of seven batters for Block from the first to the third and a string of six-straight for YaSenka, who struck out the side in the second and third.
The second time through the order was much different for YaSenka however, as Michael Massey plated the Bandits’ first run of the ballgame in the fourth by scoring Nick Loftin with an RBI double, who reached one batter earlier with a leadoff single.
With Massey on second, Seuly Matias made it a 3-0 lead for Quad Cities with a towering two-run blast to left for his second homer of the series.
Now working with the lead, Block continued to carve through the Peoria lineup and, as he did in the top of the fourth, retired the side in order in the fifth.
In the top of the sixth, Block struck out Jhon Torres for his 10th “K” of the game, marking a new career-high and Bandits’ 2021 single game high. However, with now two outs in the sixth, Jordan Walker sizzled a line drive home run over the right center wall to get the Chiefs on the board and end Block’s day after 5.2 innings and allowing just one run on two hits and one walk.
After Holden Capps helped Block end the top of the sixth, Quad Cities tacked on two more with Massey’s second RBI double of the game that chased YaSenka in bottom of the sixth and a solo homer from John Rave in the seventh, his second in as many nights, to make it 5-1.
Will Klein took over for Capps and allowed an unearned run in the eighth when a passed ball on Will Hancock allowed Matt Chamberlain to score from third, but faced the minimum in the bottom of the ninth and struck out Francisco Hernandez looking to secure the Bandits’ 5-2 win and a series spit.
Block (3-1) earned his third save of the year for the Bandits in his season’s best start, while YaSenka (0-7) ended up with the loss after going 5.1 innings and allowing four runs, three earned, on four hits, no walks, and six strikeouts.
The River Bandits will begin the second half of their 12-game homestand on Tuesday, as they welcome the South Bend Cubs to Modern Woodmen Park for the first time in 2021.