CLINTON – Meet the Joneses.
Tyler Jones provided the arm and Thomas Jones added the bat to hoist the Clinton LumberKings to a 6-2 win over Peoria Thursday night at NelsonCorp Field.
In front of a near sellout crowd packed in for Fourth of July festivities, the LumberKings remained red-hot, boosting the current winning streak to three games while boasting nine victories in their last 11 outings.
Jones retired the first 10 Peoria batters he faced, and Delvin Perez' one-out single in the fourth was abruptly erased with an inning-ended double play. Then the bats went to work.
Clinton rattled off three doubles in its first four batters of the fourth, as Bubba Hollins led off the inning with a two-base hit, and Evan Edwards and Thomas Jones traded places and both picked up RBIs.
The way Jones was cruising on the mound, the LumberKings did not need to score a surplus of runs Thursday night. But it certainly doesn't hurt. Clinton tacked on four more runs in the fifth inning, as four of the team's first five batters reached on three walks and a dropped third strike from Peoria reliever Rodard Avelino.
Edwards had a run-scoring grounder and Jones added his third RBI of the night to bolster Clinton's lead to 6-0 after five innings. Jones also was the hero in Wednesday night's game in Beloit, hitting a two-run homer in Clinton's 3-2 victory.
Tyler Jones allowed only three hits and struck out seven batters en route to earning the victory.
Peoria avoided the shutout with two runs off Clinton reliever Bruce Howe in the ninth, as Brandon Riley hit a deep double off the wall in right-center field to plate a pair of Chiefs. Raul Brito pitched the previous 1 2/3 innings in relief of Jones, and the right-hander did not allow a run and yielded just one hit.
Peoria starter Michael Baird took the loss, finishing 3 2/3 innings and allowing two runs on five hits.
Clinton took advantage of shoddy defense – Peoria committed four errors in the contest. In the fifth, Christopher Torres stole second base then broke for third a few pitches later, ultimately scoring on catcher Jose Herrera's errant throw.
Jones finished 3-for-4 at the plate. Edwards was the only other hitter to record multiple hits for the LumberKings, who finished with seven total. Hollins, who had a 10-game hitting streak snapped Wednesday night, wasted little time starting a new trend with that rally-starting double in the fourth that hugged the third-base line.
There were a combined 22 strikeouts between the two teams, 13 of which belonged to Clinton, who at least walked four times. Peoria did not draw a walk.
Clinton (9-5) and Peoria (3-11) will play the second of the two-game set Friday night at NelsonCorp Field. Tanner Andrews (2-3, 3.77 ERA) will take the ball for the LumberKings and will be opposed by Kyle Leahy (4-5, 2.64 ERA).