Franklin Torres’ drive into the misty sky led to the end of what was a long, and possibly costly, night.
Torres’ double in the eighth inning brought in Torii Hunter Jr., as the Burlington Bees defeated the Quad Cities River Bandits 1-0 in Friday’s Class A Midwest League game at Community Field.
Burlington had six hits, the day after being no-hit by three Beloit pitchers. The biggest one was by Torres.
“I, we, have to be patient with the hitting, because the hitting is going to come,” Bees manager Jack Howell said. “These guys are going to get hits, we know that.
I have to give credit, we’ve faced some decent pitchers. Guys who throw strikes, mix it up. Guys who have velocity. We just need to make those adjustments. The big thing was we needed to get the big hit, and we got that tonight.”
The game was halted by a rain delay in the third inning as a thunderstorm struck. The Bees and River Bandits then tossed up competing zeroes until the eighth.
Hunter, who was 2-for-21 for the season when he came up in the inning, lined a single into right field. Keinner Pina and Julio Garcia struck out, but Hunter was able to get to second on a wild pitch. Torres then drove a ball over the head of Quad Cities center fielder Jake Meyers. Hunter scored easily. Torres was credited with a double after being tagged out at third.
Quad Cities loaded the bases in the top of the ninth, but Jorge Tavarez (1-0) froze Meyers with a breaking ball for a called third strike to end the game.
It was another impressive pitching performance for the Bees, who lost starting pitcher Keith Rogalla to an arm injury early in the game.
Rogalla had allowed just one hit and walked one in 2 ⅔ innings when he faced Corey Julks. On ball four to Julks, Rogalla’s 33rd pitch of the night, the right-hander came off the mound and tossed his glove to the ground in frustration. After being examined by trainer Richard Gill, Rogalla headed to the clubhouse.
“I think it had something to do with a muscle strain,” Howell said, pointing to his forearm. “I don’t think it’s a major blowout or anything, at least from first indication from what Richard told me. He’s just got to think positive right now and hope for the best.”
Max Herrmann finished the inning. Then, in the bottom of the inning, after Leonardo Rivas walked and Jo Adell singled, the game was stopped as a thunderstorm approached the area. Rain began falling moments after the tarp had been placed on the field.
The rain delay lasted 1 hour, 24 minutes. Luis Garcia replaced River Bandits starting pitcher Peter Solomon when the game resumed, and Garcia got Brandon Marsh on a flyout to left field before striking out Hunter and Pina to end the inning.
That was just the beginning of the Bees’ frustration. Julio Garcia led off the fourth inning with a double. Torres then walked. After Luis Garcia retired Jeyson Sanchez and Gleyvin Pineda, Rivas walked for the third time in the game. Tyler Ivey entered in relief, and struck out Adell to end the inning.
Burlington left nine baserunners in the first five innings.
The Bees’ trademark early in the season has been pitching and defense, and it was no different in this game.
Rogalla and relievers Herrmann, James Ziemba and Tavarez allowed just six hits while striking out six.
Hunter made a catch deep in foul territory in right field and Marsh made a running grab on Bryan De La Cruz’s line drive for the first out in the ninth.
“Our pitching, our defense, have been tremendous,” Howell said. “(The defense) has been right on top of it.”
Ivey (0-1) was the losing pitcher.