GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Cedar Rapids Kernels banged out 20 hits and used two big innings to defeat the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 13-9 on Sunday afternoon at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. The Kernels finished off a four game sweep of the Rattlers behind big offensive days from Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler.
Wisconsin (29-40 overall, 0-4 second half) took the lead with single runs in the first and second innings. The Rattlers had the bases loaded with one out in the first and Mike Garza sent a grounder to third. Kernels third baseman Travis Harrison stepped on the bag for a force play and threw to the plate. But, catcher Jhonatan Arias took the throw as a force play instead of tagging Orlando Arica for the third out of the inning. That allowed Arcia to score and give Wisconsin its first lead of the four series.
The Rattlers added a run in the bottom of the second inning. Adrian Williams dropped a safety squeeze bunt to get Max Walla home from third for a 2-0 lead.
Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Marco Estrada was on a rehab assignment with the Timber Rattlers and cruised through the first two innings with five strikeouts and no runs allowed against the Kernels (44-28, 4-0). JD Williams cracked a homer to start the top of the third innings. But, Estrada responded to retire the next two batters on two pitches. Polanco was next and he doubled just fair off the wall in right. That started a streak of six straight hits off Estrada to moved the game from 2-1 in favor of the Timber Rattlers to a 6-2 Cedar Rapids lead.
Dalton Hicks followed Polanco's double with a single to tie the game 2-2. Travis Harrison doubled to drive in Hicks. Kepler doubled to drive in Harrison. Adam Brett Walker singled to drive in Kepler. A wild pitch by Estrada allowed Walker to take second base. Arias knocked Estrada out of the game with a single that sent Walker home for the final run of the inning.
But, it was not the final hit of the frame. Rattlers reliever Ryan Gibbard came on in relief of Estrada and gave up a hit to Williams. Then, he walked Byron Buxton to load the bases. Niko Goodrum was next and he sent a grounder towards right, but it hit Buxton for the final out of the inning. Goodrum was credited with a hit, the ninth of the inning for the Kernels, but he received no RBI on the play.
Wisconsin chipped away at the Kernels lead with two runs in the bottom of the third. They loaded the bases against Cedar Rapids starter Hudson Boyd on walks to Mike Garza and Adam Giacalone and a single by Max Walla. Tyler Roberts drew a bases loaded walk to force in a run. Williams got his second RBI of the game with a slow roller to third that turned into an out at first.
Tyrone Taylor extended his hitting streak to eight games with a double in the bottom of the fourth. Victor Roache knocked him in with a single to make the score 6-5.
But, the Kernels went off for six more runs in the top of the fifth inning as they sent ten more men to the plate and collected six more hits. Walker started the onslaught with a solo homer to center. Later in the inning, Buxton tripled in a run. He would score on a single by Polanco. Hicks pushed his Midwest League leading RBI total to 69 with a sacrifice fly. Then, Harrison and Kepler had RBI singles to push Cedar Rapids back out to a 12-5 lead.
Roache struck big in the bottom of the sixth. Arcia and Taylor singled to start the inning. Then, Roache launched a 2-0 pitch from Caleb Brewer to deep center for a three-run home run. The homer was the seventh of the season for Roache and his first since May 31. It also pulled the Rattlers to within 12-8.
Kepler put another run on the board for the Kernels with an RBI single in the top of the seventh.
Roberts started the Rattlers half of the seventh with his first home run since July 13th of last year. But, that was the last run of the day.
The Kernels completed their first four game sweep of the Rattlers in the Fox Cities with the win on Sunday. Cedar Rapids has won six straight over the Rattlers and is 7-1 against them in 2013.
The last time Wisconsin allowed 20 or more hits in a game was on May 21, 2010 when they gave up 22 to the Burlington Bees in a 16-4 loss at home.
Wisconsin is now 12-24 at home this season.
Rattlers outfielder Michael Reed went 0-for-5 and did not reach base on Sunday. His on base streak ended at 39 games, the second longest in baseball so far this year.
Taylor went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs on Sunday. He is 16-for-27 (.593) during his hitting streak. This just a continuation of the month that Taylor has had. He is 33-for-70 (.471) and has scored 19 runs in 19 games during June.
The Timber Rattlers are off on Monday. They return to action on Tuesday to start at four game series at Clinton against the LumberKings. Leonard Lorenzo (1-3, 6.52) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Clinton has Victor Sanchez (1-2, 2.63) as their scheduled starting pitcher. Game time is 7:00pm. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:40pm.
JD Williams (6th, 0 on in 3rd inning off Marco Estrada, 0 out)
Adam Brett Walker (11th, 0 on in 5th inning off Ryan Gibbard, 0 out)
Victor Roache (7th, 2 on in 6th inning off Caleb Brewer, 0 out)
Tyler Robers (1st, 0 on in 7th inning off Caleb Brewer, 0 out)
WP: Hudson Boyd (2-4)
LP: Marco Estrada (0-1)