By John Bohnenkamp
“Yeah,” Burlington Bees manager Jack Howell. “But it’s not as long when you win.”
It took 3 hours, 42 minutes, for the Bees to finish off the Peoria Chiefs, 9-4, in Monday’s Class A Midwest League game at Community Field.
Nobody in the Bees’ clubhouse, though, seemed to mind the marathon.
It was the third consecutive win for the Bees (46-42 overall, 7-11 second half), who swept the Chiefs (33-54, 3-15) in a three-game series for the second time this season. Burlington has won nine of the 12 games against Peoria in the season series.
What made the night so long was a lengthy and sloppy third inning. The Bees committed three errors in the top of the inning to help Peoria take a 4-0 lead, then came back with five runs in the bottom of the inning.
Spencer Griffin and Harrison Wenson opened the inning with back-to-back home runs. Alvaro Rubalcaba had an RBI single, and Justin Jones and Nonie Williams added sacrifice flies.
“It was good that we answered them,” Howell said. “Spencer and Harry started it off with the home runs, and we kept getting guys on base.”
When the Bees added three runs in the fourth and one in the fifth, the only question would be if the game would get done in under four hours.
Every Bees hitter, with the exception of Williams, got on base at least twice. The Bees had 10 hits and 12 walks.
“If you’re not going to give us anything to hit, we’ll take the walk,” Howell said.
It was a night for strange numbers in the box score.
• Jordyn Adams went 0-for-2, but the Bees’ left fielder reached base five times — four times on walks and once on an error. He has been on base 10 times in his last 11 plate appearances.
• Rubalcaba walked three times.
• Jones drove in runs in three consecutive plate appearances.
• Seven Bees hitters had at least one walk.
Bees starting pitcher Cole Duensing struggled early, including facing eight batters in the third inning. But he got out of the inning with a double play, then retired the next four hitters he faced before a one-out walk in the fifth ended his night.
“It was good to see him get out of some trouble, and then finish strong,” Howell said.
Luke Lind (3-2) pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings to get the win. He allowed three hits while striking out five.
With Tuesday’s off day looming, Howell was able to get relievers Ed Del Rosario and Tyler Smith one inning of clean work. Del Rosario retired the side in the eighth on 11 pitches, striking out two. Smith pitched a perfect ninth with just 14 pitches, striking out the final two hitters to finish the game.
ON DECK: The entire league has Tuesday off before the two-week stretch of games between the two divisions begins. The Bees play host to Fort Wayne on Wednesday night. Burlington’s Luis Alvarado (3-5, 2.77) faces Fort Wayne’s Ryan Weathers (2-3, 3.38).
NOTES: Peoria has lost nine consecutive games. … Jones has an eight-game home hitting streak, currently the fourth longest in the league. He is batting .304 in the streak. … Jones has an eight-game home on-base streak as well. Wenson and Francisco Del Valle have been on base in seven consecutive home games. … Attendance was 942.
Photo: Spencer Griffin (left) and Harrison Wenson hit back-to-back home runs in the third inning. Steve Cirinna/Burlington Bees