Midwest League: Cougars rip River Bandits
By Mike Knapp For Sun-Times Media July 5, 2012 10:22PM
Cougars pitcher Aaron Brooks delivers during Thursday's game against Quad Cities at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 7, 2012 6:34AM
On one of the hottest nights of the season, Aaron Brooks made some bats go cold.
The last several weeks have been tough for the Kane County Cougars right-hander, who came into his start Thursday having lost five of his last six decisions while going 1-3 with a 7.28 ERA in the month of June.
He righted the ship against Quad Cities in the middle game of a three-game set, tossing seven strong innings and getting some help from the offense in a 9-2 win.
Brooks, now 5-9 on the year, gave up two runs on eight hits in his outing and picked up his first win and quality start since turning back these same River Bandits on June 6. Brooks struck out six and issued one walk, and his fastball was especially lively as he was hitting 94 mph near the end of his stint.
“I was a little tight in the beginning but loosened up and tried to stay relaxed,” Brooks said. “I needed that, but the bigger picture is putting up zeroes for the team to get the ‘W.’ That’s what I’ve been worried about this season, not me as far as numbers go, but putting our team in the situation to win.”
Robinson Yambati came on to throw two shutout innings in relief as the Cougars pitching staff held the opponent to two runs or less for the sixth time in the last nine games. The Cougars are 7-2 in that span and are tied with Quad Cites at the top of the Western Division with a 9-5 record.
The offense banged out 12 hits and took advantage of a Neal Pritchard error at second base that opened up the floodgates during a six-run fifth.
After Pritchard botched a tailor-made double play off the bat of Jorge Bonifacio with the bases loaded that allowed two runs to score, Julio Aparicio doubled home two more runs. Mike Antonio then added a two-run blast that made it an 8-2 game.
Justin Trapp also homered and Kenny Swab hit his first homer of the season to cap the scoring in the eighth. Trapp had three hits while Antonio and Dean Espy added two each. Bonifacio picked up his 100th hit of the season on a sixth-inning single.
“We aren’t trying to go up there and hit the ball out of the yard,” said Cougars manager Buck Buchanan. “We are thinking line drives and gap to gap, and that’s been our approach all year.”
The three-game set concludes with the rubber game tonight as Kellen Moen (3-4) takes the ball for the Cougars. Kyle Hald (3-4) will be on the mound for Quad Cities.