Midwest League: Danny Mateo’s home run lifts Cougars
By Mike Knapp For Sun-Times Media June 6, 2012 9:38PM
Daniel Mateo is congratulated by manager Brian Buchanan after his three-run home run in the third inning Wednesday at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 8, 2012 6:56PM
For the Kane County Cougars, Wednesday’s 4-3 win over Quad Cities was about making a lot out of a little.
The Cougars had just five hits, three of which came in the third inning. But a Runey Davis sacrifice fly and a three-run blast by Danny Mateo in that frame pushed home all the runs they would need to back the pitching of right-hander Aaron Brooks.
It was a fast, crisp game played in two hours, five minutes that featured just 217 pitches between the two teams. It was a good start to the three-game set for the Cougars (31-28), who are hanging around in contention for a playoff spot with 11 games to go in the season’s first half.
“Pitching and defense will win you games, and that’s what we did (Wednesday),” Cougars manager Buck Buchanan said. “We are right there in the hunt for a playoff spot. I talked to them about it and if we can make a push here we have a good shot, but we have to take care of our business.”
Mateo took care of business with his three-run homer to right off Quad Cities starter Sam Gaviglio (3-4). It was the fourth homer of the season for the infielder and pushed his RBI total to 30 on the year. His consistent play at the plate and in the field has made him one of the team’s unsung players.
“He hit well last year with me in Idaho Falls,” Buchanan said. “I thought he was one of the guys that could have made the all-star team.”
Brooks, who skipped a start and was pitching for the first time since May 27, went seven innings for the second time this year and turned in his fifth quality start to improve to 4-6. Matt Ridings went the final two innings for his first save of the year.
Game two of the series is set for 6:30 Thursday as hard-throwing Robinson Yambati (1-1) takes the ball for the Cougars.