Minor League Baseball: Cougars rout Peoria, match 2013 win total

Kane County's Kyle Schwarber (right) talks to starting pitcher Daury Torrez in between pitches against the Peoria Chiefs at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark on Thursday. | Mike Mantucca / For Sun-Times Media
Kane County's Kyle Schwarber (right) talks to starting pitcher Daury Torrez in between pitches against the Peoria Chiefs at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark on Thursday. | Mike Mantucca / For Sun-Times Media

Cougars 10, Peoria 2

Recap: David Bote drove in three runs, and Daury Torrez pitched seven innings to become the Midwest League’s first 9-game winner as the Cougars matched last season’s win total after just 83 games.

Cougars record: 10-3 second half, 55-28 overall.

Up next: Cougars at Clinton Friday at 7 p.m. Kane County’s Juan Paniagua (4-3) vs. Clinton TBD.

In a season that is among one of the best in the franchise’s history, the Cougars hit a sort of milestone against Peoria on Thursday night.

Their 10-2 win over the Chiefs in the finale of a three-game set gave the Cougars win No. 55 on the season, which with 58 games to go matches the club’s 2013 total. It also kept alive a streak that has seen the Cougars win every home series this year.

“I don’t keep track of that, but isn’t that amazing?” Cougars manager Mark Johnson said. “We just come in every day ready to work. Their chemistry is off the charts, and you don’t have many teams like this, I only played on a couple in my career.

“It’s a special thing and fun to be around.”

The series was one where the winning team posted crooked numbers on the board early to put the other team in a hole. Tuesday the Cougars popped six runs in the third inning and Wednesday the Chiefs returned the favor by scoring three runs in each of the first two innings.

It was the Cougars’ turn again Thursday, as they plated two runs in the first against Peoria starter Chase Brookshire when Jake Hannemann reached on an error and Kyle Schwarber was hit by a pitch, with both of them coming home on a Yasiel Balaguert double.

The Cougars tacked on four more in both the fourth and eighth innings to hit double digits for the second time in their last five games. Bote led the offense with two hits and three RBI, while Shawon Dunston Jr. and Schwarber each drove in a run. Cael Brockmeyer also plated a run with his third homer of the season, a long solo shot over the scoreboard in left field in the sixth.

Johnson was pleased to see Bote have a bit of a breakout night, as the infielder has struggled at the plate, which has led to a quest for playing time and even a week’s stay in short-season Boise.

“He plays his tail off every day,” Johnson said. “It was a great game for him, things pile up when you hustle and play hard.”

Daury Torrez entered the night with a 16 1/3-inning scoreless streak dating back to June 11 in Peoria, and stretched that to the seventh before giving up two unearned runs. Still, he won his Midwest League leading ninth game (9-3 overall) and hasn’t issued a walk or given up an earned run in 20 second half innings.

Schwarber said he was “excited” to be behind the plate catching Torrez Thursday.

“He throws everything for a strike whenever he wants to, and that’s the best part,” Schwarber said. “He has a live arm with a lot of plus off-speed. Those are good nights when his control is on.”

The Cougars head to Clinton for the start of a three-game series Friday.

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Cougars 10, Peoria 2

Recap: David Bote drove in three runs, and Daury Torrez pitched seven innings to become the Midwest League’s first 9-game winner as the Cougars matched last season’s win total after just 83 games.

Cougars record: 10-3 second half, 55-28 overall.

Up next: Cougars at Clinton Friday at 7 p.m. Kane County’s Juan Paniagua (4-3) vs. Clinton TBD.

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