It was a long night Sunday at Modern Woodmen Park – for all the right reasons.
Long balls off the bats of Scott Schreiber and Colton Shaver and the longest start for Quad-Cities pitcher Edgardo Sandoval in four years combined to lead the River Bandits to a 5-0 Midwest League shutout of Cedar Rapids.
Sandoval struck out a career-high 11 batters and teamed with Parker Mushinski and Willy Collado to strikeout 15 Kernels on a three-hit win as Quad-Cities pitchers collected their league-leading 14th shutout of the season.
“All of my pitches were working. When I started striking guys out, I was motivated to keep it up,’’ Sandoval said through translator Bryan Abreu. “It was a good feeling on the mound all night.’’
The six-inning start was the longest for the 6-foot right-hander from Chitre, Panama since he worked seven innings against a Ranger affiliate in a Domincan Summer League game on Aug. 6, 2014.
Sandoval underwent Tommy John surgery last year and began a string of rehab appearances at Gulf Coast and short-season Tri-City in late June before joining Quad-Cities on July 27.
“Coming off a long stay on the disabled list, this was the type of outing you hope for,’’ River Bandits manager Mickey Storey said. “It takes an efficient effort for him to get through six innings with the pitch count he is on. It was really good to see, really pleased for him.’’
Sandoval allowed more than one baserunner in just one of his six innings, maneuvering through the only trouble he faced while maintaining a 1-0 lead in the top of fourth.
Cedar Rapids collected its first hits of the game in that inning, a leadoff single by Michael Helman followed by a one-out double by Ben Rodriguez which positioned Kernels on second and third with one out.
Sandoval added to his collection of strikeouts by sitting down the next two batters he faced, Gabriel Maciel and Jacob Pearson.
“I felt healthy and under control,’’ Sandoval said. “My pitches were working and I was able to get the outs I needed.’’
The River Bandits gave Sandoval a lead to work with in the bottom of the second inning.
Schreiber rattled his fourth home run of the season off the batter’s eye in straightaway center field, a 406-foot shot that came off the bat at 110 miles per hour.
Quad-Cities added three runs to its lead in the fifth off of Kernels starter Jhoan Duran, including a pair when Shaver deposited his 14th home run of the season over the fence in left.
His blast came after Schreiber reached on a walk, stole second and went to third an errant throw by Rodriguez before scoring on a Logan Mattix sacrifice fly.
“It was a good combination of things, pitching, some big hits. It was a win we needed,’’ Storey said. “We did a lot of good things, had good at-bats, great pitching, good defense. We’re playing the game the right way, always battling.’’
Storey saw that as Quad-Cities added an insurance run an eighth inning that began with Ruben Castro’s third hit of the game.
He singled, took third an errant pickoff attempt and then scored the River Bandits’ fifth run on a wild pitch.