Peoria, IL – The Peoria Chiefs scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull away from the Burlington Bees 4-2 in the series finale on Sunday afternoon. After the sweep, the Chiefs improved to 4-0 in the second half and 43-31 overall with the series opener against the Kane County Cougars set for Monday at 7:00 p.m.
The Chiefs took advantage of a pair of wild pitches from Bees starter Denny Brady to get on the board in the bottom of the third. Nick Plummer hit a one-out double to right and moved to third on a wild pitch with two outs. Another wild pitch went to the backstop as Plummer scored for an early 1-0 lead.
Burlington answered in the top of the fourth against Chiefs starter Paul Balestrieri. Leonardo Rivas led off with a single and Franklin Torres was hit by a pitch to put two runners on. Kevin Williams singled to load the bases and Spencer Griffin drove in Rivas on a sacrifice fly to right field to tie the game 1-1.
The Bees took the lead, briefly, in the top of the sixth. Griffin drew a two-out walk and Julio Garcia singled to put runners at the corners. A wild pitch from Balestrieri allowed Griffin to score as the Bees moved ahead 2-1.
It did not take long for the Chiefs to answer in the bottom of the sixth against reliever Isaac Mattson. Scott Hurst led off with a single but was thrown out trying to advance to second on a pitch in the dirt. Dennis Ortega rocketed a two-out double to left and Yariel Gonzalez scored him on a single up the middle to tie it up 2-2.
Peoria took advantage with two outs to pull ahead in the bottom of the seventh against reliever Austin Krzeminski. Plummer and Hurst both drew two-out walks for Elehuris Montero to unknot the game with a two-run single past a diving Torii Hunter Jr. in center.
Up 4-2, Fabian Blanco was brought to close it for the Chiefs. Jeyson Sanchez and Harrison Wenson both walked with two outs as Rivas represented the game winning run at the plate. Blanco struck out Rivas looking to seal the sweep.
Balestrieri (3-2) earned the win throwing eight innings allowing two runs on six hits with one walk and four strikeouts while hitting two batters. Blanco got the save throwing one inning with two walks and a strikeout.
Notes…The Chiefs have won nine straight against the Bees and lead the season series 10-1…The Chiefs are a season-best 12 games over .500… Peoria is 12-5 in day games…The Chiefs had gone 32 innings without trailing against the Bees until Burlington led 2-1 in the top of the sixth and have still gone 36 innings without trailing at the end of a frame…Martinez made his first start at second base this season…Blanco has the team lead in appearances with 23…Montero leads the Chiefs with 41 RBI…Balestrieri has two quality starts, both of at least eight innings…The Chiefs begin a three-game series against Kane County at 7:00 p.m. Monday with an appearance by Daniel Tiger presented by WTVP…Monday is Halfway to Christmas Night featuring a Teddy Bear Toss to benefit Cuddles for Kids…Monday is a Half Price Ticket Monday with $6.50 Dugout Seats, $5.50 Field Box Seats and $4.00 Lawn Seats… The Chiefs will start RH Alvaro Seijas (2-3, 5.00) against Kane County RH Brian Shaffer (2-5, 3.39)…The broadcast can be heard, starting with the Pre-Game Show at 6:45 p.m. on www.peoriachiefs.com/listenlive and is also available on the Peoria Chiefs Network in the Tune-In Radio App…The game is also available on MiLB.tv for subscribers.