Peoria, IL – The Peoria Chiefs clinched their third-straight post-season berth with a 6-2 victory over the Quad Cities River Bandits on Thursday night. The win clinches a playoff spot at 36-30 in the second half and the Chiefs and River Bandits will open the first round series in Peoria on Wednesday, September 6 at 6:30 p.m.
Quad Cities took an early lead for the second straight night. Chiefs starter Evan Kruczynski allowed a one-out single to Chas McCormick and Luis Payano doubled to the left-center field gap, driving in McCormick to give the River Bandits a 1-0 lead. Payano attempted to stretch the hit to a triple, but was thrown out for the second out of the inning. Wander Franco and Cody Bohanek both singled, but Kruczynski struck out J.J. Matijevic to end the inning and the threat.
The Chiefs took the lead in the fourth against Bandits starter Kit Scheetz. Stefan Trosclair led off with a walk and with one out Evan Mendoza executed a hit-and-run with a single to right, sending Trosclair to third. The Chiefs executed a double steal with Mendoza taking second and Trosclair stealing home to tie the game at 1-1. The throw was cut off at second by Abraham Toro who made an errant throw to the plate to allow Mendoza to go to third. Juan Yepez grounded out to third and Mendoza scored to give the Chiefs a 2-1 lead.
Quad Cities immediately responded in the fifth inning. Wander Franco led off with a home run off Kruczynski to left field, tying the game at 2-2. The homer was the first Kruczynski allowed since July 30 against Wisconsin.
Peoria broke the game open in the fifth inning against Quad Cities relievers Cesar Rosado and Salvaor Montano. Rosado walked Matt Fielder, Mick Fennell, and Kramer Robertson to load the bases with nobody out. Dylan Carlson singled to right to drive in Fiedler and Fennell to give Peoria a 4-2 advantage. With one out, Trosclair walked and Danny Hudzina singled to left, scoring Robertson and Carlson to improve the Chiefs lead to 6-2.
Kruczynski (4-3) earned a win, allowing two runs on six hits over five innings with two walks and three strikeouts. Leland Tilley earned a hold and pitched 1 1/3 shutout innings out with one hit and one walk. Austin Sexton earned a hold and hurled 1 2/3 shutout innings allowing three hits, a walk, and striking out two. Yeison Medina notched his ninth save of the season with one hitless inning with two strikeouts.