If you play long enough with fire, sooner or later you will get burned.
The Quad-Cities River Bandits learned that lesson the hard way Tuesday.
Beloit leadoff batters reached base in six of the first eight innings, and Quad-Cities got torched 11-0 at Modern Woodmen Park.
“We’d get guys in a 1-2 count and we couldn’t put them away,” River Bandits manager Luis Aguayo said after his team’s most lopsided loss of the season.
“When you make mistakes against a good-hitting club like that, a good fastball-hitting club, you’ll pay and they hit the ball all over the park. They didn’t hit it out, but they hit it all over.”
Quad-Cities starter Brad Watson worked his way out of trouble early and trailed 2-0 before the Snappers parlayed a pair of walks to open the sixth into a four-run inning.
Beloit then blew the game open with a five-run eighth.
“It’s a matter of making pitches when you need to make them,” Aguayo said. “In the first two games of this series, we executed our pitches, pitched inside, elevated and expanded the strike zone. The last two games, we didn’t do that, and it cost us.”
Beloit clubbed 18 hits, an effort led by a four-hit game from Stephen Wickens and three hits apiece from the top three batters in the Snappers’ order.
Shutout for just the sixth time in 126 games this season, the River Bandits (62-64) mustered six hits, including a pair by Nick Longmire.
Snappers starter Jason Wheeler, a 6-foot-6, 263-pound southpaw, struck out three batters in eight shutout innings but mixed his pitches well to earn his league-leading 14th win in 20 decisions.
“He hides the ball well and there is a lot of deception in his movement,” Aguayo said. “He’s come at you at 87, 89 miles an hour, but he controls the zone, works inside and mixes things up well. It was easy to see why he’s been successful."
SCORE: Beloit 11, Quad-Cities 0
LOPSIDED: The 11-run loss was the worst for Quad-Cities since a 13-2 loss to Clinton on May 7, 2010, and it marked the most lopsided shutout for the Bandits since being routed by Peoria 15-0 on Aug. 16, 2009.
STILL RUNNING: Reds prospect Billy Hamilton established a new professional baseball record for stolen bases Tuesday with his 146th steal of the season. He set the mark in a game for Pensacola.
River Bandits fans saw Hamilton’s wheels in action a year ago. Two of the 103 bags he swiped last season for Dayton came during a three-game series at Modern Woodmen Park in July, 2011.
Hamilton’s record breaks the old mark of 145 set by Vince Coleman in 1983.
IN THE HOUSE: Gary LaRocque, a special assistant to Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, is in the midst of a stay with the Quad-Cities club. LaRocque, in his 37th season in professional baseball in player development and scouting, has been with St. Louis since 2008.
ON DECK: Kane County at Quad-Cities, 7 p.m., today. Probable pitchers: Kane County, TBA; Quad-Cities, Dail Villanueva (9-6, 4.35)