By John Bohnenkamp
DAVENPORT — The success of the Burlington Bees in the first half of the season had plenty to do with the starting pitching.
The Bees have hit a rough spot as the Midwest League season heads into its final month.
Luis Alvarado didn’t make it out of a four-run first inning, and Quad Cities cruised to an 8-3 win on Wednesday night at Modern Woodmen Park.
The Bees (54-54 overall, 15-23 second half) have lost eight of their last 10 games as time is running out on the season.
The Bees completed a stretch where they played 11 of 14 games on the road, with the last five being commuter trips.
“It’s that time every year where everybody goes through it a little bit, a little fatigue,” Bees manager Jack Howell said.
Alvarado (4-7) threw 37 pitches in the first inning, only 19 for strikes, before being taken out.
The first five batters reached base. Michael Wielansky led off with a triple and scored on Cesar Salazar’s single. Austin Dennis singled and Alex McKenna walked to load the bases. Freudis Nova’s double brought in two runs, then after Grae Kessinger walked to load the bases again, David Hensley hit a line drive to center field, a sacrifice fly that scored McKenna.
Alvarado went 3-2 on Ramiro Rodriguez, the ninth batter of the inning, before being removed.
It was the second consecutive night that a Bees starter worked a short game — Kyle Tyler pitched just four innings in Tuesday’s 4-1 loss.
“Is it because guys are figuring them out or they’re just not pitching well? No, I think they’re a little fatigued,” Howell said. “The difference between that good sharp slider and that good fastball, making that big pitch to get out of trouble.”
The Bees’ offense didn’t help. Burlington was held hitless through the first 5 2/3 innings before Livan Soto’s double.
The Bees wouldn’t get another hit again until the eighth. Connor Fitzsimons doubled after Ryan Vega walked to open the inning, then Alvaro Rubalcaba’s double scored Vega and Fitzsimons. Rubalcaba would later score on an error.
Burlington did get a strong relief performance by Ed Del Rosario, who allowed just two hits in 4 1/3 innings in relief of Alvarado. Parker Joe Robinson gave up four runs in the sixth, but retired seven of the last eight hitters he faced.
“We needed that,” Howell said. “They got us to the end.”
Jose Bravo (2-4) was the winning pitcher, throwing six innings before being taken out with an injury at the start of the seventh.