Chiefs Sweep Burlington, Continue to Rule State of Iowa

The Peoria Chiefs swept their three-game set with Burlington and are only five games out of first place in the Midwest League Western Division. The Chiefs have won seven straight road games for the first time since 2006 and just the third time in franchise history. The Chiefs are 16-9 in the second half and 49-44 overall heading into a six-game home stand.

Here’s how it all happened:

Saturday, July 18: Chiefs 7, Bees 4

Kenny Peoples-Walls and Jake Gronsky played the unlikely heroes in the opening game of the three-game set by both going deep as part of a four-run fourth inning to silence the Bees early. Gronsky, who owned an average below .190 coming into this game, belted a three-run homer to put the Chiefs up 4-0. Peoples-Walls was next up and followed suit with a solo shot of his own to make it 5-0. That would be all the Chiefs needed as Austin Gomber was on his game; Gomber allowed an unearned run on three hits and two walks, striking out seven over seven innings of work en route to his ninth win of the season. Kevin Alexander came in relief of Gomber and gave up a three-run homer in the eighth to cut the Chiefs lead to 6-4, but the Chiefs responded with a run of their own in the very next frame on an Alex DeLeon groundout and the Chiefs cruised to a 7-4 win as Kyle Grana picked up his 12th save of the season. The back-to-back homers by Gronsky and Peoples-Walls marked the third time this season the Chiefs have gone back-to-back with the previous time being at Burlington on July 8 with Gronsky and Luis Cruz hitting consecutive homers. Gomber improved to 5-0 with a 2.01 ERA in the state of Iowa and 6-0 overall on the road this season.

Sunday, July 19: Chiefs 14, Bees 6

The Chiefs arrived at the Bees stadium just 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start due to travel issues, but that wouldn’t slow down the Chiefs bats in the blowout win. DeLeon smacked a two-run double with the bases loaded in the first to get the scoring started. The Chiefs grabbed two more runs on a pair of sacrifice flies to increase their lead to 4-0 in only the first inning. Chiefs starter Jack Flaherty gave up a run in the bottom of the inning, but it did little to phase the red-hot Chiefs offense. DeLeon crushed a two-run homer, his ninth of the season, in his very next at bat in the third inning to make it 6-1 Chiefs. In the fourth, Nick Thompson laced a RBI triple, his first triple of the season, and came home on an RBI single by Cruz for a resounding 8-1 lead in only the third inning. The Bees came almost all the way back in the fourth and fifth by putting five runs on the board, cutting the lead to 8-6, and chasing Flaherty from the game with a no decision as he was only able to register four innings of work. However, the Chiefs offense would respond yet again with Peoples-Walls blasting his third home run of the season and second in as many days for an 11-6 lead in the seventh. In the eighth, Brian O’Keefe, making his Peoria Chiefs debut, crushed a two-run homer in the eighth for a 13-6 lead. The Chiefs finished the scoring in the ninth when Mercado tripled and scored on a double play to make it 14-6. DeLeon tied a career-high with four RBI and leads the team with nine homers, Mercado tied a career high and set a new season high with four hits, and Flaherty gave up a career-high five earned runs.

Monday, July 20: Chiefs 6, Bees 3

DeLeon powered the Chiefs early with a pair of RBI in his first two at bats to get the Chiefs on top 2-0 early. Two RBI doubles by Cruz and Mercado in the fifth broke the game open and extended the Chiefs lead to 5-0. Cruz added another run-scoring hit in the sixth to make it 6-0 Chiefs. Chiefs starter Matt Pearce allowed two runs in the sixth and Chiefs reliever Jhonny Polanco, making his first appearance out of the bullpen since June 10, gave up solo homer to Bees catcher Wade Wass in the seventh, but the Chiefs held on for a 6-3 win to complete the three-game sweep of Burlington. Pearce improved to 6-9 on the season after allowing two runs, one earned, on six hits over five innings. Pearce has gone 38 1/3 innings since June 8 without issuing a walk and has won three straight starts. DeLeon is tied for the team lead with 11 must-RBI games this season. Polanco is the eighth pitcher in team history to pitch in 70 career games in a Chiefs uniform. He also moved into the top 15 for career strikeouts with 155.

Chiefs Stun Snappers 3-1 in Rain-Shortened Game

Oscar Mercado laced a two-run single to center to give the Chiefs a 3-1 lead before rain would cut the ballgame short in the bottom of the seventh inning. Read all about it in the Game Recap.

Here are the video highlights:

Here are the audio highlights:

Check out Peoria Chiefs Beat Writer Dave Eminian’s story from last night’s win.

Chiefs One-Hit Beloit 1-0 on Wednesday

Nick Thompson’s RBI double in the second inning was all the Chiefs needed as Jhonny Polanco and company combined to throw a one-hit shutout against the Snappers to open up the three-game series. Read all about it in the recap.

Here are the video highlights:

Here are the audio highlights:

Hear from Manager Joe Kruzel postgame:

Check out Peoria Chiefs Beat Writer Dave Eminian’s story from last night’s win.

Chiefs Look to Continue Winning Ways Against Snappers

The Peoria Chiefs (11-8, 44-43) are winners of four straight and have gone 8-2 in their last 10 games. The Chiefs are coming off their first four-game sweep in Clinton since 1998 with a 7-2 win over the LumberKings on Monday. The Beloit Snappers (8-10, 34-54) are winners of two straight and are coming off two days of rest since they were rained out Monday and the entire Midwest League had the day off yesterday. This three-game series could prove pivotal for the second half playoff picture as both teams are fighting for a spot and Beloit trails Peoria by only two games.

Probable Pitching Matchups:

Wednesday July 15: RH Jhonny Polanco (1-3, 3.92) vs. RH Heath Fillmyer (0-8, 7.77)

Thursday July 16: RH Luis Perdomo (4-7, 2.79) vs. RH Daniel Gossett (3-9, 5.20)

Friday July 17: LH Dewin Perez (1-2, 9.72) vs. RH Junior Mendez (2-6, 4.89)

Things To Watch For:

New Half, New Fire:

After starting the second half with a 3-7 record, the Chiefs have won eight of their last nine games and are currently tied for second place in the Midwest League Western Division with Cedar Rapids. The Chiefs embarked on a six game road trip and finished with a 5-1 record, including their impressive four-game sweep in Clinton. The Chiefs are arguably playing their best baseball of the season and look to continue it in the three-game set with Beloit at Dozer Park.

Young Guns

Much of the recent success has to be due to the additions of 2015 draftees Harrison Bader and Paul DeJong. Bader, the third round pick of this year’s draft out of the University of Florida, has hit safely in all seven games he’s been with the Chiefs. Bader is batting .357 with two doubles, has already stolen four bases successfully, and is proving to be a consistent bat in the middle of the Chiefs lineup. DeJong, the fourth round pick of this year’s draft out of Illinois State University, is batting .294 with a double, triple, homer, and two RBI in his seven games with the club thus far.

DeLeon Favors The Snappers

The Chiefs lead the season series with Beloit 7-2, much in thanks to the bat of Alex DeLeon. He is 14-31 (.452) with six runs scored, two doubles, three homers, and seven RBI this season against the Snappers. In fact, DeLeon owns a home run against both Beloit starters Daniel Gossett and Junior Mendez who he will most likely face on Thursday and Friday.

Back From the Future: Perdomo Comes Home

Chiefs right hander Luis Perdomo is making his first start for the Chiefs since returning from his relief outing in the 2015 Futures Game in Cincinnati at Great American Ballpark. Perdomo faced three batters, including a nasty strikeout to end his day. In addition, Perdomo was named the St. Louis Cardinals Pitcher of the Month for May, started the 2015 Midwest League All Star Game, and has posted a sparkling 2.79 ERA with 76 strikeouts in 77 1/3 innings this season. Perdomo has done a fantastic job of showcasing his immense talent this season and the Chiefs are ecstatic to have him back in their rotation.

Perez Finally Enters The Win Column

The St. Louis Cardinals’ 30th prospect, according to MLB.com, has had a shaky 2015 thus far. He started off the year with a three-inning scoreless start on April 12 against Wisconsin, but would hit the Disabled List a day later and would not return until May 1. Perez then lost two of his next three starts without making it past three innings of work before another stint on the DL sidelined him for a month. After two rehab starts in the Gulf Coast League, Perez returned to the Chiefs rotation on Independence Day and allowed five runs on six hits and five walks, striking out one before getting pulled after only two and a third innings. However, Perez bounced back to notch his first win of the season his last time out. Perez allowed two runs on seven hits and three walks, fanning four over five innings of work in a win at Burlington. Perez has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his three-year career and he will look to ride his most recent, solid performance into the finale of this three-game set with Beloit.

Chiefs Crank Out Three In 7-2 Win over Burlington

Nick Thompson drilled a two-run homer in the first, Andrew Sohn belted a solo shot in the second, and Alex DeLeon smacked his second homer in as many days as the Chiefs rolled Burlington 7-2 on Monday. Read all about it in the Game Recap.

Here are the video highlights:

Here are the audio highlights:

Hear from Sohn postgame:

Check out Peoria Chiefs Beat Writer Dave Eminian’s story about last night’s win and Chiefs outfielder Thompson.

Chiefs Square Off With Burlington For Four-Game Set

The Peoria Chiefs (4-7, 37-42) are coming off a 7-1 win over Quad Cities on Sunday, snapping a three-game skid. They welcome the Burlington Bees (4-7, 39-41) for two games at Dozer Park before heading out to Iowa for the final two games of the series. Burlington is coming off a 8-6 loss to Cedar Rapids and are currently on a two-game losing streak.

Probable Pitching Matchups:

Monday July 6: LH Austin Gomber (7-3, 3.52) vs. RH Austin Robichaux (7-4, 3.02)

Tuesday July 7: RH Jack Flaherty (3-1, 2.86) vs. RH Keynan Middleton (4-4, 4.74)

Wednesday July 8: RH Matt Pearce (3-9, 3.65) vs. RH Justin Anderson (5-6, 3.38)

Thursday July 9: RH Jhonny Polanco (1-2, 3.99) vs. RH Jeremy Rhoades (4-5, 2.93)

Things To Watch For:

Pitcher’s Duel

Austin Gomber has not lost since the month of April. He went 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in May, was named a Midwest League All Star, and went 3-0 with 4.09 ERA in June. Gomber is coming off his seventh win of the season against Clinton allowing only two runs on eight hits, walking none, and striking out eight over six and a third innings of work. Remaining undefeated since April might be a tall task with Austin Robichaux opposing him. Robichuax has not allowed a run in his last 24 2/3 innings and currently leads the Bees with seven wins. Robichaux received a no decision his last time out, tossing seven shutout innings, scattering six hits and one walk, striking out six against Kane County.

Bean Looks To Have Stellar Series

Steve Bean currently has a four-game hit streak, but more impressive is the fact that he has gone 8-17 (.471) during that stretch. Bean also has had success against the Bees this season thus far. Bean is 4-12 with a double, a homer, and two RBI in four games against Burlington. His homer was a two-run shot and his first of the year, which came on May 2nd at home where Burlington edged the Chiefs 7-6 in 12 innings.

Who’s The New Guy?

That would be Nick Flair. The Los Angeles Angels drafted Flair in the 34th round of the 2015 draft out of the University of Tampa. Flair played six games for the Arizona League Angels going 5-21 with three RBI before getting the call-up to Burlington. Since his promotion, Flair has gone 7-22 with a double, a homer, and three RBI in six games with the Bees. Flair’s homer came in last night’s loss to Cedar Rapids, a solo shot off of their reliever Brandon Bixler.

Chiefs Quiet River Bandits 7-1 on Sunday

Alex DeLeon drilled his seventh homer of the season and Luis Perdomo tossed eight shutout innings as the Chiefs snapped their three-game losing streak with a 7-1 win over Quad Cities. Read all about it in the Game Story.

Here are the video highlights:

Here are the audio highlights:

Hear from Alex DeLeon postgame talking about his homer:

Check out Peoria Chiefs Beat Writer Dave Eminian’s story from yesterday’s win.

Chiefs Fall 8-5 in Extras

The Chiefs completed a three-run comeback thanks to an Andrew Sohn RBI double in the eighth to knot the game at five. However, Quad Cities got a three-run homer in the 11th and won the contest 8-5. Read all about it in the Game Recap.

Here are the video highlights:

Here are the audio highlights:

Check out Peoria Chiefs Beat Writer Dave Eminian’s story from last night’s game.

Chiefs Head To Iowa Looking to Snap Three-Game Losing Streak

The Peoria Chiefs (1-3) have lost three in a row since taking the first game of their four-game set with Kane County to open up the second half of the season. They begin a five-game road trip in the state of Iowa by squaring off with the Clinton LumberKings (2-2) for a three-game series before heading to Burlington for the remaining two games. Clinton just split a four-game series with Wisconsin.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Monday June 29: RH Luis Perdomo (3-6, 2.55) vs. RH Jeffeson Medina (2-7, 4.45)

Tuesday June 30: LH Austin Gomber (6-3, 3.58) vs. RH Zach Littell (2-2, 3.12)

Wednesday July 1: TBD vs. RH Tyler Herb (4-4, 4.88)

Things to Watch For:

Chiefs Try To Climb Out Of Last

After dropping their past three games to Kane County at home, the Chiefs embark on their first road trip of the second half of the season tied for last place with Cedar Rapids and Beloit. Cedar Rapids isn’t all that worried as they already clinched a playoff birth in the first half; unfortunately, Peoria and Beloit do not enjoy that same luxury.

Gomber Goes For Team-Leading Seventh Win

Austin Gomber is quietly putting together an incredible 2015 campaign. He is currently 6-3 with a 3.38 ERA, but that doesn’t nearly do him justice for what he has done in his past six starts. Gomber has won four of his last six starts, giving up more than three runs only once, and he has since moved into a tie for first on the team with Luis Perdomo with 68 strikeouts on the season. On May 18, Gomber tossed a seven-inning, complete game shutout allowing only one hit, no walks, and fanning four. Gomber has not lost since April 29.

A Pair Of Catchers Try To Jump-Start The Clinton Offense

James Alfonso and Pat Leyland (son of former major league manager Jim Leyland) each haven’t played more than five games for Clinton this season, but they are already making an impact. Alfonso is batting .412 with three RBI in five games since joining the team while Leyland is batting .529 with a double and three RBI in four games for Clinton. The two catchers split time with Wayne Taylor who has since seen his playing time decrease, but Alfonso and Leyland are proving to be quite the tandem behind the plate early in the second half for the LumberKings.

Chiefs Begin Second Half With 5-3 Win

The Chiefs notched a solid 5-3 win over the Kane County Cougars thanks to Nick Thompson’s team-leading seventh homer and great pitching by both Jack Flaherty and Blake McKnight. Read all about it in the Game Story.

Here are the video highlights:

Here are the audio highlights:

Hear from Nick Thompson postgame:

Check out Peoria Chiefs Beat Writer Dave Eminian’s story from last night.

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