Peoria, Il –The Peoria Chiefs reduced their magic number for a playoff spot to two with a 4-3 victory over the Burlington Bees Thursday night. The win improves the Chiefs to 37-30 and eliminates the Bees from playoff contention. The Chiefs will clinch a playoff spot Friday with a home win over Burlington and a Cedar Rapids loss at Quad Cities.
Burlington struck early in the top of the first inning against Chiefs starter Sandy Alcantara. A one-out single by Angelo Amendolare and a double by Brendan Sanger put runners at second and third. With two outs Michael Hermosillo tripled in both runners to give the Bees a 2-0 lead.
The Chiefs bounced back in their half of the third against Burlington starter Ronnie Glenn. Magnueris Sierra singled to start the inning and Edmundo Sosa singled to center. One out later, Brian O’Keefe doubled to the wall in right-center field to tie the game 2-2. O’Keefe was left at second as Glenn escaped the inning with consecutive groundouts.
The Chiefs took the lead in the fourth. Vaughn Bryan doubled and moved to third on a one-out grounder to second. With Sierra batting, Glenn uncorked a wild pitch and Bryan scored for a 3-2 Chiefs lead.
Burlington scratched across a run against Chiefs reliever Brennan Leitao in the top of the sixth. With one out Michael Pierson singled and Tanner Lubach reached on a fielders’ choice error to put runners at first and second. Jared Foster drove in Pierson with a line drive to center tying the game at 3-3. Leitao retired the next two hitters to keep the game tied.
The Chiefs regained the lead against Burlington reliever Winston Lavender in the eighth inning. RJ Dennard reached on a throwing error and was awarded second as the ball ended up in the stands. Bryan singled home Dennard for the go-ahead run and the Chiefs led 4-3. Leitao shut down the Bees in order in the ninth for the victory.
Alcantara got a no-decision after leaving with the lead. He allowed two runs on six hits, struck out 12 and walked three through five innings. Leitao (4-6) got the win while allowing one unearned run on two hits while striking out five in four innings of relief.
Notes…The Chiefs magic number to clinch a playoff spot over Cedar Rapids is two…The Chiefs are ½ game behind Clinton for first place…The Chiefs are now 11-0 in the first game of a home series…Alvarez extended his on base streak to 21 games…Alcantara has struck out six or more batters in seven of his 12 starts…Alcantara struck out double digits for the third time this season falling two shy of his season and career high…He leads the Midwest League with 83 strikeouts…Leitao pitched as a reliever for the first time this season after making 10 starts…His start was rained out on Tuesday in Clinton…The Chiefs are 12-20 when falling behind…The Chiefs have seven wins in their last at-bat …The Chiefs are 8-8 in one run games…The series continues Friday at 7:00 p.m. as the Chiefs start All-Star RH Jake Woodford (4-3, 2.92) against Bees RH Jose Rodriguez (3-3, 3.24)….Friday is Irish Nigh with post-game Fireworks presented by Kellehers Irish Pub and Eatery…The first 1000 fans 13 and up receive a Peoria Chiefs Paddy Cap courtesy of Kellehers…The Chiefs will be wearing Irish themed Jerseys that will be auctioned off during the game to benefit the Peoria Chiefs Scholarship Fund…The broadcast can be heard, starting with the Pre-Game Show at 6:45 p.m. on www.peoriachiefs.com/listenlive which also has downloads for a free app on the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android…The broadcast is also available on the Peoria Chiefs Network in the Tune-In Radio App.