DAVENPORT, IOWA (September 13, 2021) — Having lost back-to-back games since clinching the top seed in the postseason, the Quad Cities River Bandits blanked the Peoria Chiefs 2-0 on Saturday behind five no-hit innings from A J Block at Modern Woodmen Park.
In his sixteenth High-A start of the season, Block and Peoria starter Logan Gragg each worked a perfect first inning, before Aaron Antonini’s in-field hit and a walk by Tyler Reichenborn gave the Chiefs two men on for what would be their only time in the ballgame, but Block struck out Matt Chamberlain looking to end the frame.
After both starters worked a scoreless second, Kale Emshoff drew a lead-off walk against Logan Gragg in the bottom of the third. Two batters later, the Chiefs’ righty induced a potential inning-ending grounder off the bat of Maikel Garcia, but threw the ball into center-field while trying to start the double-play. With men on the corners, Eric Cole took the first pitch he saw down the first base-line and plated Emshoff for a 1-0 lead. The next batter, Nick Loftin, extended the lead to two and capped off a six-pitch at-bat with a sacrifice-fly that scored Garcia from third.
Now working with the lead, Block retired six straight batters to conclude his tenth River Bandits’ start of at least five innings and struck out Chamberlain again for his sixth total strike-out to the game to the bottom of the fifth.
Midway through the sixth, Antonini’s in-field hit was changed to an error, officially giving Block a five-inning no-hit performance as Patrick Smith retired Peoria one-two-three to preserve the now no-hitter through six.
With Gragg done after five innings of his own, Nathan Eaton drew a lead-off walk against reliever Enmanuel Solano in the bottom of the sixth, but the righty then retired six in a row over his next two innings to keep Quad Cities from insuring the lead.
In the top of the seventh, Rubendy Jaquez did all he could do in an attempt to keep the no-hitter intact, but Pedro Pages legged out an in-field hit up the middle for Peoria’s first knock. However, Smith used a pair of strike-outs and a pop out to strand the man at first.
Quad Cities nearly broke into the run column again in the bottom of the eighth, drawing three straight two-out walks against Solano, but Leonardo Taveras was able to get Gavin Stupienski to fly-out to keep it a two-run game going to the ninth.
Will Klein, who retired the side in order in the top of the eighth, picked up a six-out save and concluded the Bandits’ sixth shut-out win of the season by setting down the top third of Peoria’s line-up in order in the ninth, including another pair of strike-outs.
With Smith (2) and Klein (4) earning a hold and a save respectively, Block (4-5) got the win for Quad Cities as the Bandits struck out thirteen combined batters, while yielding just two base-runners.
Gragg (2-7), despite allowing two unearned runs and striking out six in five innings, got the loss for Peoria.
ABOUT THE BANDITS: The 2021 season marks the River Bandits’ first year as a new Advanced-A Major League affiliate. As such, the team will be offering higher-quality baseball than has ever before been played in the Quad Cities. Additionally, the Bandits will welcome a new MLB affiliate to the Quad Cities, the Kansas City Royals. The River Bandits anchor the Quad Cities’ sports-market, which The Sports Business Journal named the top minor-league sports-market in the country in 2015 and second-best minor-league market in its 2017 follow-up ranking. In 2015, 2017, and again in 2019, the River Bandits earned Ballpark Digest’s award for “Best Charitable Works” in Minor League Baseball, the only club to win that coveted award three times. For more information, visit www.riverbandits.com or contact General Manager Joe Kubly at (563) 333-2768.