It was almost as if I watched two different games during the same one Saturday.
The first half of the game was a pitchers duel between Quad Cities River Bandits RHP Tyrell Jenkins and Burlington Bees RHP Drew Granier. Jenkins, a top St. Louis Cardinals pitching prospect, threw a good five innings, but Granier was the pitching star of the game, no-hitting the River Bandits for five innings and unluckily getting a no-decision because the Bees bullpen imploded in the 7th inning.
The last time I saw Granier pitch was in the Midwest League All-Star Game. He started the game but lasted only two-thirds of an inning, giving up five runs (two earned) on three hits and a walk. Results-wise, he was a completely different pitcher Saturday as he stifled the Quad Cities offense for 5.2 innings. Granier didn’t give up a hit until Casey Rasmus homered to lead off the bottom of the 6th inning.
The River Bandits clearly feared the beard, because the Rasmus homer was the only hit they managed to get off Granier, who struck out 7 batters and walked 3.
Granier left the game with a 2-1 lead that soon turned into a 7-1 lead. At the stretch, it looked like Granier was going to get his 12th win of the season.
Then the bottom of the 7th happened.
The River Bandits pounded Bees relievers Nate Eppley and Raul Alcantara for 8 runs in the bottom of the 7th inning. The Bees offense mustered a single run in response, and the River Bandits won the game 9-8.
The first 2,000 fans through the gates received an Allen Craig bobblehead. The Cardinals first baseman-outfielder never played in the Midwest League, but Quad Cities is a St. Louis affiliate, so he made the bobble-cut.