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040218-RIVER-BANDITS-MEDIA-DAY-005

A baseball is seen in the dirt during media day at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport on Monday, April 2, 2018.

Brett Daniels and the Quad-Cities River Bandits solved a pair of mysteries Sunday night.

Daniels rebounded from a pair of tough starts on the mound and Quad-Cities finally was able to find some offense against Kernels starting pitcher Andrew Cabezas, a combination that led the River Bandits to a 5-4 Midwest League victory at Modern Woodmen Park.

“It was good to come out and make some two-strike pitches work for me and it was good to see our hitters come out and have some success against a guy who had been shoving it pretty well against us,’’ Daniels said.

While Daniels matched a season best with nine strikeouts as he allowed just three hits over seven innings, the River Bandits’ offense methodically found success against an opposing pitcher who had not given up a run in two previous starts against Quad-Cities.

Cabezas had surrendered just two hits over 16 innings in a pair of victories over the River Bandits before giving up six Sunday in a start which ended after a two-run double by C.J. Stubbs had given Quad-Cities a 5-0 lead with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

“We did some different stuff in the cage before the game to get guys ready, helping them get their minds right,’’ River Bandits manager Ray Hernandez said. “We mixed up tempo a bit, did some things to get them ready to face a guy who has had some success against us.’’

The River Bandits matched their season hit total against Cabezas during a second inning which started with back-to-back singles by Oscar Campos and Stubbs and included a run-scoring groundout by Alex Holderbach.

Quad-Cities added to its lead in the fifth, using a two-out single by Wilyer Abreu to fuel a rally that included a run-scoring single by Campos before Stubbs split the gap in left-center with a two-run double.

“It was good for us to have a good outing against a guy who has thrown well against us, somebody who we might see again,’’ Hernandez said. “It can only help your confidence.’’

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Holderbach extended the Bandits’ lead to 5-0 when he opened the bottom of the sixth with his sixth home run of the season.

“That proved be a pretty big run and it shows why you have to keep working to add on when you have a lead,’’ Hernandez said.

Daniels limited the Kernels to one DaShawn Keirsey single through six innings before Cedar Rapids began to cut away at the River Bandits’ 5-0 lead, scoring a pair of runs in both the seventh and eighth innings.

“I probably threw more off-speed pitches than fastballs for the first time in a long time, but it helped me get ahead of hitters and that was the idea,’’ Daniels said. “I was able to do that for the first time in three or four outings and then trust my defense to help me put guys away with two-strike pitches.’’

Keirsey collected a two-run double with two outs in the seventh to end Quad-Cities’ shutout hopes, and Cedar Rapids pushed two more runs across before leaving the bases loaded in the eighth.

A two-out RBI single by Gilberto Celestino followed by a bases-loaded walk to Keirsey inched the Kernels within a run, but River Bandits reliever Jacob Billingsley struck out Albee Weiss to leave Quad-Cities clinging to a 5-4 advantage.

Billingsley struck out the first two batters he faced in the ninth before Spencer Steer walked and LaMont Wade Jr. singled, bringing Luis De Paula in from the bullpen to coax a game-ending comebacker off the bat of Celestino to preserve the win.

“Cedar Rapids has been a team that always comes ready to compete until the end. They showed that again tonight, and we were able to get a good win,’’ Daniels said.

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