(Photo: Burlington Bees pitcher Luis Ramirez delivers a pitch in the sixth inning on a clear night at Modern Woodmen Field)
By John Bohnenkamp
DAVENPORT — It wasn’t a matter of getting hits for the Burlington Bees.
It was the matter of getting the right hits.
The Bees had nine hits in Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Quad Cities River Bandits, but the timely hits — the ones that drive in runs — weren’t there.
“We swung the bats well, we just didn’t get the hits when we needed them,” Bees manager Jack Howell said.
The Bees (54-53 overall, 15-22 second half) had runners in scoring position in six of the nine innings, but the only run they could get came in the fifth inning, when Harrison Wenson scored on Connor Fitzsimons’ sacrifice fly.
Other than that, it was a series of missed chances — the Bees were 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position — and it started right away. The Bees had three hits in the first inning, but didn’t score.
Livan Soto led off the game with a single. Kevin Maitan followed with a slicing drive that Quad Cities left fielder Alex McKenna trapped. McKenna then got up and threw Soto out at third.
“(McKenna) is going to have to make a perfect throw on that play, and he did,” Howell said.
Adrian Rondon then singled to right field to send Maitan to third. Francisco Del Valle then hit a line drive that third baseman Trey Dawson caught with a dive, then Dawson got up to double up Rondon at first.
That was just the beginning.
Nonie Williams had a one-out triple in the second, but was stranded when Wenson and Ryan Vega struck out.
Fitzsimons led off the third with a double and moved to third base on Maitan’s one-out grounder to the right side, but was left there.
Quad Cities (63-40, 20-17) took a 2-0 lead in the fourth on Oscar Campos’ single that scored Freudis Nova and Grae Kessinger.
The fifth looked like it could be a big inning for the Bees. Wenson doubled and advanced to third on Vega’s single. Fitzsimons hit his sacrifice fly to score Wenson, then Vega advanced to second on a wild throw to the plate by Quad Cities right fielder Carlos Machado. But Soto hit a fly ball to right field that moved Vega to third, then Maitan struck out to end the inning.
Quad Cities added single runs in the sixth and seventh. Campos drove in a run with a single in the sixth, then McKenna’s single in the seventh brought home Cesar Salazar.
The Bees threatened in the ninth. Del Valle walked to lead off the inning, then Justin Jones doubled. But Williams and Wenson struck out, then Vega was retired on a checked-swing grounder to end the game.
Kyle Tyler (6-1) suffered his first loss of the season. He walked three and struck out one in four innings.
Abdiel Saldana (1-0) struck out five and allowed eight hits in six innings. Brett Daniels pitched three scoreless innings for his second save. The two pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts.
“Too many strikeouts, and we couldn’t get the big hit,” Howell said.