Nick Longmire

The Bandits celebrate Nick Longmire's home run to put them in the Midwest League finals. Photo from Stephanie Paluch at thebaseballlife.com.

September 11, 2011 – Bandits walk-off to Finals, Cards complete sweep of Braves

On this date in 2011, the Quad Cities River Bandits punched their ticket to the Midwest League Finals in dramatic fashion.

This game was set up by a complete game shutout by Trevor Rosenthal to win game one over the Kane County Cougars. The series was only a best two of three, so one more win and the Bandits would advance to the Midwest League finals.

Kevin David of the Cougars opened the scoring with a solo home run in the top of the second inning. The score would stay 1-0 until the top of the 5th when the Cougars rallied for three more runs. They got two walks, a triple and a sac fly to make the score 4-0.

Seth Maness relieved Bandits’ start Zach Russel to put out the fire in the top of the 5th. Maness threw 3.2 innings and only allowed one more run. Angel Franco hit a solo home run off Maness in the top of the 8th. At this point the Cougars led 5-0 and things looked bleak.

The Bandits got two runs back in the bottom of the 8th inning. Colin Walsh had the key hit – a double – which scored one run. He came around to score on a sac fly and a passed ball. Angel DeJesus held the Cougars scoreless in the top of the 9th. The Bandits trailed 5-2 heading to the bottom of the 9th.

Ronny Gil led off the bottom of the 9th with a walk. Chris Edmondson flew out. Then Jonathon Rodriguez and Cody Stanley each singled. The Bandits now trailed 5-3 with the winning run at the plate and one out. Nick Longmore was next to bat and he did this:

This home run was voted as #5 as the “Home Run of the Year” in minor league baseball on this site.

Cardinals Complete Sweep of Braves

In the Majors, the Cardinals beat the Braves to complete the series sweep.

They blew the game open in the fifth inning when they scored 5 runs. It was an ugly inning for the Braves that featured two hit batsmen and two walks. Albert Pujols drove in the first run with a single. Lance Berkman then drew a bases loaded walk. Yadier Molina capped the scoring with a 3-run triple.

The Cardinals would end up winning 6-3. The win pulled them to within 4.5 games of the Braves for the Wild Card spot.

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Chris Carpenter (AP Photo Jeff Roberson)

June 17, 2011: Cards Lose Seventh Straight, Bandits Clinch Playoff Berth

The Cardinals lost their seventh straight game on this date in 2011. This was their longest losing streak of the season. They were swept by the Brewers and Nationals on the road, and this was the first game of a three game series versus the Royals.

The Cardinals lost this game 5-4. Chris Carpenter went eight innings, allowed 10 hits, five runs (four earned), one walk and struck out seven. He took the loss in this game, dropping his record to 1-7. The Cardinals scored all four of their runs in the third inning. They loaded the bases and Matt Holliday was hit by a pitch to force in a run, and then Lance Berkman hit a bases-clearing double. This gave them a 4-3 lead. The Royals tied the game in the top of the fourth and took a lead in the top of the 8th on an error by Albert Pujols. The reeling Cardinals dropped to 38-33 on the season and were in second place.

Video recap: Royals 5, Cardinals 4

CBS Sports – Pujols error gives Royals a victory in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS — Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar is known for his fielding. Lately, he has been doing plenty of damage with his bat.

Against the St. Louis Cardinals Friday night, Escobar had two hits with a run scored in Kansas City’s 5-4 win. He also was part of the key play of the game: His hard groundball with two outs in the eighth inning eluded Albert Pujols and allowed Mike Moustakas to score the go-ahead run.

Pujols, a Gold Glover, was given an error on the play. Kansas City manager Ned Yost thought Escobar, who is 14 for 24 (.583) over his last seven games with eight runs scored, could have been credited with a hit.

“I don’t know how that’s ruled an error,” Yost said. “That’s a pretty tough hop, a pretty tough ball.”

River Bandits Clinch Playoff Berth

Down in the minors I was able to go to both the game on June 17 and 18 to see the River Bandits play the Peoria Chiefs. In the June 17 game, River Bandits pitching held the Chiefs to four hits. Jonathan Rodriguez homered and the Bandits won 4-1.

In the June 18 game, the Bandits won 6-1. They again held the Chiefs to four hits. Boone Whiting started and went seven innings, allowing only four hits and one run. He had six strikeouts and one walk. He lowered his ERA to 1.75 on the season. Dean Kiekhefer shut out the Chiefs the final two innings, allowing no hits. Ronny Gil and Nick Longmire each had two RBI, and Oscar Taveras went one for four with an RBI double.

The win on June 18 clinched a playoff berth for the Bandits, as the first half wild card team. Here is a Quad City Times article about that game:

QCTimes – River Bandits clinch playoff berth

Boone Whiting and the Quad-Cities River Bandits earned a Midwest League playoff berth Saturday night.

They had little choice.

Facing one of the most dominant pitchers in the league in Peoria’s Austin Kirk, Whiting and the River Bandits were strictly business from the start of a 6-1 victory in front of a crowd of 5,924 at Modern Woodmen Park.

“I knew I was facing a real good pitcher, somebody who wasn’t going to give up many runs,” Whiting said. “I had to be on top of my game.”

Whiting, who began the season in the Quad-Cities bullpen, picked up his first victory of the season in just his third start, striking out six and walking one batter while scattering four hits over seven innings.

“Whiting set the tone from the first inning,” River Bandits manager Johnny Rodriguez said. “He didn’t give them a chance.”

With the victory, Quad-Cities (39-29) assured itself of the chance to own home-field advantage for the opening round of postseason play as the first-half wildcard winner in the Western Division.