The Peoria Chiefs lost a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning and left the tying run at third base in the top of the ninth in a 5-4 setback to the Kane County Cougars on Monday night. The loss drops the Chiefs to 24-39 on the half and 57-76 overall with seven games
remaining in the 2011 season. Despite being under .500 overall at 62-70, the win gives the Cougars a six game lead over Beloit and Wisconsin with a magic number of two for the second
half Western Division Wild Card.
The Cougars grabbed their first lead of the series in the second inning against P.J. Francescon. Cheslor Cuthbert led off with an infield single and moved to second on a single by
Kevin David. Orlando Calixte beat out a sacrifice bunt to load the bases before Francescon struck out Jake Kuebler. Javon Pickett drew a bases-loaded walk to put the Cougars on top 1-0 before
Francescon got a pop-up and a strikeout to end the threat.
Peoria bounced back for a run in each of the next two innings to take the lead. In the third, Jason Adam hit Jesus Morelli in the arm and the Chiefs left-fielder moved to second on a passed
ball. With Morelli at third and one down, Taiwan Easterling tied the game with a sacrifice fly to right. Rafael Valdes led off the fourth inning with a hustle-double to left-center and he moved to
third on a flyout by Dustin Geiger. With two down, Anthony Giansanti bounced a single up the middle to give the Chiefs a 2-1 lead.
The one run lead held through the seventh inning as Francescon and Pete Levitt were on cruise control. The Chiefs had a chance to extend the lead in the eighth against Trevor Graham. Morelli led off with a double and moved to third on a one-out error by Calixte. With runners on the corners, Rubi Silva struck out as Easterling stole second. Cuthbert made a diving stop down the third base line to rob Valdes of a run-scoring hit to end the inning.
Ramon Garcia took over on the hill in the eighth inning and recorded two quick outs and looked poised to give the Chiefs their third straight win. However, Cuthbert worked a full-count walk and David walked on five pitches. After a visit on the mound, Calixte lined a single to right
and the Cougars didn’t challenge Giansanti’s arm with Cuthbert holding at third. Kuebler came through with a triple to left over the head of John Andreoli and Kuebler scored when the throw
home bounced to the backstop as Kane County took a 5-2 lead.
The Chiefs did not go quietly in the ninth against closer Chase Boruff. Richard Jones just missed his 24th home run of the season and settled for a ground-rule double to start the inning.
With Jones at third and one out, Giansanti and Micah Gibbs drew back to back walks to load the bases. Morelli worked a walk to score Jones to cut the Cougars lead to 5-3. Anderoli bounced into
a fielder’s choice as Giansanti score. With runners on the corners, Boruff got Easterling to pop out to shallow right to end the game.
Francescon threw a career-high four innings and struck out a career-high five. He walked three and allowed one run on three hits. Levitt allowed two hits over three shutout inning and struck out four. Garcia (1-1) allowed his first runs of the season and took the loss. In one inning he was charged with four runs, three earned, on two hits and two walks.
Article courtesy Peoria Chiefs.