Peoria, IL- The Peoria Chiefs fell behind in the fourth inning and couldn't catch up to the team with the best record in the Midwest League in a 6-1 loss to the Cedar Rapids Kernels at home Friday night. The loss drops the Chiefs to 27-27 in the second half and 65-56 overall with 16 games left in the season.
After the Chiefs stranded a runner in scoring position in the third against Hudson Boyd, the Kernels grabbed the lead in the fourth against Mike Mayers. Max Kepler led off with a double to right and moved to third and an Adam Brett Walker single. Mike Gonzales hit a single just past the glove of Jeremy Schaffer to drive in Kepler, while Walker advanced to third and came around to score on a wild pitch to put the Kernels up 2-0. Gonzales advanced to second on the wild pitch and with one out scored on a Joel Licon base-knock giving Cedar Rapids the 3-0 lead. Mayers limited the damage by getting two straight outs to escape the inning.
The Chiefs got one of those runs back in the fourth inning. With one out Jordan Walton walked and moved to second on an Ildemaro Vargas bunt single. After Nick Martini lined out to right field, Walton scored from second on a Juan Herrera's bloop single to left cutting the Kernels lead to 3-1.
The Kernels added to their lead with a pair of runs in the fifth inning off reliever Thomas Lee. Jonathan Murphy led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. He came around to score from second on a passed ball and Kepler homered for the eighth time this season extending the Kernels lead to 5-1.
The Kernels plated one more run with Steve Sabatino on the hill in the eighth inning. Walker led off the frame with a double and came around to score on a Travis Harrison single up the middle putting the Kernels up 6-1, which would ultimately be the final tally.
Mayers (0-1) allowed three runs on six hits over four innings while taking the loss. The third rounder struck out three, walked two and threw a wild pitch. Lee allowed two runs on two hits over three innings while striking out one and allowing a home run. Sabatino made his home debut and allowed one run on two hits while fanning two in two innings of work.
Notes: Mayers had pitched nine straight scoreless prior to giving up three runs in the fourth…It was the first time in six career starts that Mayers allowed more than one earned run…Cedar Rapids entered Saturday's game with a team average of .268, 96 home runs and 672 runs scored, 88 more than any other MWL team… Both of Herrera's RBI with the Chiefs have come with a runner in scoring position…The Chiefs are 7-6 against Cedar Rapids this season, 2-2 in Peoria…The teams still have seven matchups remaining this month…Peoria is 7-4 at home on Saturday and 13-6 at home in the first game of a series…Peoria had been 2-0 in Mayers first two starts in a Chiefs uniform…There was a 31-minute delay in the eighth inning as parts of downtown lost power though the lights were always on at Dozer Park…The Chiefs unveiled their brand new Dozer Park video board prior to the game…The Chiefs continue their series with the Kernels on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. and all kids 12 and under get in free…The first 1,500 fans in the ballpark will receive a free team photo poster presented by the Journal Star…Fans can play catch on the field at 4:00 p.m. and Chiefs players will sign autographs in front of the dugout at 4:15…Kids 12 and under will get a Sonic coupon for free Ice Cream and can run the bases post-game… Big Bird and Cookie Monster will be at the ballpark as part of PBS character day…The Chiefs start LH Kyle Helisek (7-4, 3.31) against Kernels LH Josue Montanez (4-5, 4.83)… The broadcast can be heard, starting with the Premier Print Group Pre-Game Show at 4:45 p.m. on www.peoriachiefs.com/listenlive which also has downloads for a free app on the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android.