Birthday Boy Flaherty Starts the Party

PEORIA – Peoria Chiefs second baseman Ryan Flaherty celebrated his 23rd birthday Monday by taking Daniel Meadows' pitch and hammering it onto the right field patio at O'Brien Field in the first inning.

When Flaherty and the Chiefs offense were finished, they had 12 hits and a series sweep of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers with a 2-1 victory.

The Chiefs have won five straight games.

"It felt pretty good," Flaherty said with a smile. "I wasn't thinking about it when I was up (at bat). (David) Macias asked me before the game if I had a homer in me and I did."

Flaherty wasn't the only one doing damage with his bat. Rebel Ridling joined the party in the sixth inning when he cracked his 12th home run.

Ridling continued his recent hot streak at the plate by turning in a perfect 4-for-4 performance. In the last 10 games, he is batting .447 with 10 RBI and four homers.

Chiefs (53-46 overall, 15-15 second half) manager Marty Pevey said of Ridling's homer, which barely cleared the left field wall: "That is all you need, though. Hank Aaron's were all like that."

On the mound, Austin Bibens-Dirkx (2-1) went the distance, striking out seven batters and not allowing a walk. His only mistake came against Erik Komatsu, who hit his first home run of the season in the fourth inning.

Bibens-Dirkx, a former Timber Rattlers pitcher with the Seattle Mariners' farm system, needed 89 pitches to complete nine innings in a game that lasted only 1:52.

It was the first nine-inning complete game by a Chiefs pitcher since Scott Taylor accomplished the feat on August 2, 2006, against Cedar Rapids. Meadows (11-3) also pitched a complete game in a losing effort.

"I can't say enough about the kid. He just goes out and pitches," Pevey said of Bibens-Dirkx, who the Cubs signed from the independent Golden Baseball League this month. "His sinker was going one way and his slider way going another way, and he was touching 91 MPH on the (radar) gun. He broke six bats. Batters were having a real tough time against him."

LeMahieu Joins Chiefs

The Chiefs announced that 2009 second-round pick D. J. LeMahieu will join the team in Dayton, Ohio Tuesday while D.J. Fitzgerald was reassigned to Class Low-A Boise of the Northwest League. LeMahieu was 5-for-12 with a triple, two runs scored, four RBI and a stolen base in four games for the AZL (Arizona League) Cubs.

"He's going to play second, short, and DH," Pevey said. "It will be a situation where we have a roving infield" with Flaherty, Junior Lake, and LeMahieu.

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