For the most part, Game 1 of the Midwest League Championship Series was a pitchers’ duel.
Thus, it was ironic that when the game was finally decided in the bottom of the 10th inning, the walkoff moment for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers came courtesy of a bases-loaded wild pitch.
Interestingly, the first run of the game also scored because of a wild pitch. Timber Rattlers 3B Brandon Macias, who walked to lead off the bottom of the 1st inning, scored all the way from second base on a wild pitch uncorked by Fort Wayne TinCaps SP Joe Ross.
The Timber Rattlers didn’t get their first hit until the 4th inning when SS Yadiel Rivera doubled. That came an inning after the TinCaps tied the score 1-1 when a fielding error by Timber Rattlers 1B Nick Ramirez allowed TinCaps LF Kyle Gaedele to score as CF Travis Jankowski reached base safely instead of making the third out.
An RBI double by Timber Rattlers C Rafael Neda gave Wisconsin a 2-1 lead in the 4th inning. The score stayed that way until the top of the 7th inning, when a triple by 3B Duanel Jones drove in C Austin Hedges to make it a 2-2 game. The Timber Rattlers allowed a pair of leadoff singles to start the inning and nearly got out of the jam with a triple play, but the throw from second base was wide and pulled Ramirez off the bag.
Timber Rattlers SP Jacob Barnes was removed from the game after that inning. He gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and one walk in 7 IP. He struck out two, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.
Ross lasted five innings and gave up two runs on two hits and three walks. He struck out five batters and threw a wild pitch.
Winning pitcher Brent Suter and TinCaps RP James Jones each threw three scoreless innings that included three strikeouts, but losing pitcher Luis De La Cruz didn’t fare as well. He pitched fine in the 9th inning but not in the 10th inning, when his bases-loaded wild pitch allowed Neda to score.
Game 2 starts at 12:05 p.m. CST Thursday. I assume the early start was scheduled so the game in Appleton wouldn’t conflict with the nearby Green Bay Packers game later that night. Regardless, I’ll be at Fox Cities Stadium live-tweeting updates via Twitter, so follow along there during the game and check back here later in the day for my blog post about Game 2.