Peoria, Ill. – Johnny Field homered twice, including a lead-off blast, but they were not enough on Saturday afternoon as the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Class-A/Tampa Bay Rays) were defeated by the Peoria Chiefs (St. Louis Cardinals), 11-8. The Hot Rods held leads of 5-0 and 8-5 before the Chiefs rallied for six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take the lead for good.
The big sixth inning started with four consecutive free passes to Peoria batters that forced one run home. With the bases still full, Ronald Castillo hit a grand slam to left-center field to push the score to 10-8 in favor of the Chiefs. Mason Katz capped the inning when he followed Castillo’s home run with one of his own. It was the second time the Chiefs went back-to-back in the game, Castillo being a part of the first combination as well in the third inning.
The game started off well for Bowling Green when Field began the game with a home run to left field. It was the second straight game Field homered, but he was not done. Nor were the Hot Rods, who added one run in the second on a run-scoring double by Pat Blair.
The Hot Rods lead was stretched to 5-0 in the third. Granden Goetzman drove home field with a double, and would later score on a wild pitch. The final run crossed when James Harris singled home Darryl George. Goetzman now owns seven extra-base hits this season.
The Chiefs would battle back to level the game at five, thanks in part to home runs by Carson Kelly and Castillo. The see-saw nature of the game continued when Field put the Hot Rods back on top in the top of the sixth. With Blair and Juniel Querecuto aboard, Field sent his second home run beyond a picnic area in left-center field for an 8-5 Bowling Green lead. After the Chiefs’ six-run sixth, the Hot Rods were unable to claw back into the game.
Field finished the game with two home runs, four runs driven in, and reached base four times. He has three home runs since the Hot Rods arrived in Peoria on Friday night, and he has hit safely in all but one of his starts. Despite the loss, it was the highest offensive output this season by the Hot Rods. They compiled 11 hits, including a season-high five extra-base hits. The two teams combined to club six home runs.
The Hot Rods finish their first road trip of 2014 in Peoria on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m., with the Pepsi Pre-Game Show getting underway at 12:45 p.m. The team returns to Bowling Green Ballpark on Monday when they’ll open up a six-game homestand by welcoming in the Kane County Cougars (Chicago Cubs), beginning with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch on Pepsi Buck Monday.