Fort Wayne, IN -- After the TinCaps and Kernels split a pair of pitchers' duels in the first two games of their series at Parkview Field, Cedar Rapids outslugged Fort Wayne in the finale, 11-4. The TinCaps had only surrendered two total runs in their first two meetings.
The Kernels scored early and often on Tuesday night, beginning in the first inning. Cedar Rapids (21-9, 61-37) jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning with an RBI single from Mike Gonzales and an RBI double by Adam Brett Walker. Fort Wayne (11-19, 54-45) initially recovered to tie the score, 2-2. Diego Goris plated Mallex Smith with a double in the first, and in the second, the Kernels committed an error leading to an unearned run.
Cedar Rapids, which leads the league in batting average and runs per game, seized control of the contest in the third when ten batters came up to the plate. The Kernels scored five times to go ahead, 7-2. Max Kepler provided the go-ahead hit with a single that scored two. Joel Licon scored two more with a double, while the inning's fifth run scored on a wild pitch. Fort Wayne starter Walker Weickel (3-5) left after three innings and seven earned runs allowed on seven hits and a walk. The right-hander had gone at least five innings in eight of his last nine apperances.
Matt Chabot replaced Weickel in the fourth and immediately allowed a run as Gonzales drove in Jorge Polanco with a double. Luis Domoromo got a run back for the TinCaps in the bottom of the fourth with his first home run of the season in the Midwest League to make it 8-3. The left fielder had hit five with Advanced-A Lake Elsinore in the season's first half, but hadn't hit one as a TinCap since June 29, 2011.
The visitors ballooned their lead to 11-3 with a three-run sixth. Walker, who leads the Midwest League in home runs and RBI, hit a two-run blast to left-center field. The All-Star outfielder's home run was his 22nd of the season and second in as many days. While Fort Wayne has hit nine home runs as a team in July, Walker alone has hit 10 in the month. With three RBI in the game, Walker now has 88 on the season. Later in the sixth inning, Joe Church came on to replace Chabot and forced in a run with a bases-loaded walk.
The TinCaps came up with eight hits against Kernels starter Jose Berrios (6-5), but managed only three runs against him in six innings. Fort Wayne's fourth run came in the home seventh when Goris scored Smith on a groundout. The TinCaps ended the game with 10 hits to the Kernels' 14, but Fort Wayne went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base.
With the loss, Fort Wayne finishes play against the West Division in 2013 with an 11-12 record.
The TinCaps are off Tuesday before embarking on a six-game road trip Wednesday night at West Michigan at 7:00. Fort Wayne is set to start Zach Eflin (4-5, 3.17), opposed by Edgar De La Rosa (5-3, 6.69). The game can be heard on The Fan 1380, as well as TheFanFortWayne.com.