After Jonathan Arauz doubled with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning Monday, Corey Julks stepped into the Modern Woodmen Park batter’s box with one thing on his mind.
“It was my job to get him home,’’ Julks said, “Have a good approach. Square up. Make good contact. Get him home.’’
Julks sliced a single through the right side of the Peoria infield, allowing Arauz to race home and give Quad-Cities a 5-4 walk-off victory over the Chiefs.
“Corey Julks doesn’t have the best batting average on our team (.253), but whenever I see him at the plate I get a feeling that good things are going to happen,’’ River Bandits manager Mickey Storey said. “He’s proven that time and time again all season.’’
The win was the fourth in a five-game series against Peoria and completed a 6-3 homestand for Quad-Cities, which takes a one-half game lead in the Midwest League Western Division into a three-game series at second-place Clinton beginning tonight.
“It seems like we need to win them all right now, the way everybody is playing, but this was a good series to get against a good-hitting Peoria team that our pitchers shut down for the most part,’’ Storey said.
The Chiefs didn’t go quietly, matching the three runs Quad-Cities put on the board to break a 1-1 tie in bottom of the eighth with three runs of their own in the ninth.
Peoria collected five of its 11 hits in the final inning, tying the game for the second time on a two-out double by Julio Rodriguez.
He erased the 1-0 lead Arauz gave Quad-Cities on a double in the third inning with a two-base hit in the sixth, then tied the game at 4-4 when he drove to left in the top of the ninth.
“They showed a lot of fight in the way they came back, but we showed some fight of our own in the way we got it done in the bottom of the ninth,’’ Julks said. “They weren’t going to take this from us.’’
The Chiefs rally came after the River Bandits bunched four of their 11 hits together an eighth inning that opened with a single by Julks.
Miguelangel Sierra followed with a single and while he was forced out on a fielder’s choice by Jake Adams that put runners on the corners, Adams’ ability to get down the line and avoid a potential double play opened the door for Quad-Cities.
Back-to-back doubles down the left field line pushed the River Bandits in front, the first by Michael Papierski breaking the 1-1 tie and the second by Colton Shaver bringing two runs across as it rattled around the left field corner.
“Adams got to third (on Papierski’s hit) and was a little frustrated, but he shouldn’t have been,’’ Storey said. “He stayed out of the double play and that gave us a chance to have an inning. That’s why we always talk about hustling all the time. You never know when it will matter.’’
It mattered Monday as Quad-Cities (29-22) moved seven games over .500 for the first time this season.
“When you get in a game like this, you have to keep working, keep finding ways to get things done,’’ Julks said. “This was a big win for us. Now, we’ve got to keep working to get some more.’’