Kyler Burke had a big night for Peoria
PEORIA – One night after taking a 12-3 thrashing by the Great Lakes Loons, the Peoria Chiefs bounced back. The Chiefs jumped out to a 2-0 first-inning lead and never trailed in a 4-2 victory Thursday at O’Brien Field.
After David Macias flied out to lead off the bottom of the first inning, second baseman Ryan Flaherty singled back up the middle off Loons starting pitcher Ethan Martin (4-4). Rebel Ridling, second in the Midwest League in RBI (57) behind the Loons’ Kyle Russell (63), took a 2-1 pitch and lined it off the right field wall for a double.
Kyler Burke, who led the all of professional baseball in doubles for the first half of the season (28), then laced the first pitch he saw to the right field gap for a two-run double, giving the Chiefs (44-39) a 2-0 lead.
Peoria added a run in the second inning courtesy of an RBI double from Macias. They capped their scoring in the eighth after Burke hit his second double of the night -- his 30th of the season -- and came in to score on Jovan Rosa’s RBI single.
“The middle of the lineup did a wonderful job for us,” Chiefs manager Marty Pevey said.
Pevey was especially happy with Burke’s hitting. Burke finished 3 for 3 with a walk.
“He’s starting to keep his head behind the ball,” Pevey said of Burke. “He was letting his head get in front of his swing. His head was traveling so his hands were dragging. Therefore his hands were rolling over and he was getting weak pop-ups to the opposite field.”
On the mound, the Chiefs’ pitching staff combined on a seven-hitter.
Both Great Lakes runs were given up by starter Aaron Shafer (6-5), but only one was earned. Shafer served up a solo home run to Alfredo Silverio in the second inning, his 10th allowed this season. He went on to pitch five innings, walking one batter and giving up four hits while striking out five.
“Now is the time where he will figure out if he mentally has what it takes,” Pevey said of Shafer. “It’s not physical for him. It’s the middle of the season. It’s concentration. It’s hitting the glove and having positive thoughts; not negative ones.”
Kevin Kreier pitched three scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out three for his seventh hold. Chris Huseby closed things out for his ninth save.
Loons centerfielder Nick Buss hit a Huseby fastball to deep center to start the ninth, but Macias made a diving, over-the-shoulder catch to record the first out. Huseby then went on to strike out the final two batters.
“Kreier did a great job in long relief and Huseby was his usual self,” Pevey said.
OKLAHOMA CITY 6, IOWA 5 (CLASS AAA)
At Oklahoma City, the Cubs (44-42) collected 10 hits in the loss Thursday. C Steve Clevenger (3-for-4, triple, two RBI) and 1B Bobby Scales (3-for-4, double, RBI) led the team with three hits apiece. RHP Esmailin Caridad started and took a no-decision, allowing five runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six batters and walked two. RHP Greg Reinhard (1-3) suffered the loss, allowing one run and two hits.
MONTGOMERY 6, TENNESSEE 3 (CLASS AA)
At Sevierville, Tenn., the Smokies (40-48 overall, 8-10 second half) collected eight hits in the loss Thursday. 3B Marquez Smith (2-for-4, RBI) and 1B Blake Lalli (2-for-4) paced the offense with two hits apiece. Smith has hit safely 17 of his last 19 games and is batting .295 in 66 games. RHP Andrew Cashner (0-1) started and suffered the loss, allowing three runs (all unearned) and three hits in 4 2/3 innings.
ATHLETICS 8, CUBS 5 (ARIZONA ROOKIE LEAGUE)
At Mesa, the Cubs (8-8) collected nine hits in the loss Thursday. CF Francisco Guzman (2-for-4, walk) and RF Jesus Morelli (2-for-4) led the team in hits. RHP Luis Liria started and allowed two runs and three hits in three innings. RHP Rogelio Carmona (0-3) suffered the loss, allowing two runs and three hits in 1 1/3 innings.
At Tampa, Fla., Class High A Daytona’s (40-40, 6-7) scheduled doubleheader against the Yankees was postponed due to rain Thursday. The games will be made up as part of a doubleheader Friday beginning at 5 p.m. (ET).