Peoria, IL- Despite a late comeback by the Peoria Chiefs, the Cedar Rapids Kernels made an early two-run lead hold in their 2-1 victory Monday night. The Chiefs are now 27-29 in the second half and 65-58 overall as they had into game four against the Kernels on Tuesday.
The Kernels grabbed the early lead with an unearned run off Ben O'Shea in the first inning. Jonathan Murphy reached on a Bruce Caldwell error and moved to third on a Niko Goodrum single. He came around to score on a Mike Gonzales sac fly putting Cedar Rapids up 1-0.
Cedar Rapids added to their lead with a run in the second inning. Joel Licon reached on a lead-off walk and moved to second on a Tyler Grimes bunt single. After reaching third on a fly out, Licon came around to score on a Jeremias Pineda single to give the Kernels 2-0 advantage. O'Shea got out of the inning by retiring the next two batters.
The Chiefs may have tied the game in the third inning against Tim Shibuya had it not been for a great defensive play made by Grimes at second base. Ildemaro Vargas led off the frame with a single and moved to second on a one-out Gerwuins Velazco single. Both runners moved up a base as C.J. McElroy Jr. grounded out to first. Charlie Tilson hit a grounder to the right side of the infield that appeared headed for a run-scoring single. However, Grimes slid into the right-field grass and threw out Tilson by a half step to save at least one run and preserve the Kernels 2-0 lead.
After O'Shea and a pair of relievers kept the Chiefs in the game, the bats finally came alive in the ninth inning. Tilson reached with a bunt single to lead off the frame and came around to score on a Jordan Walton double to cut the Kernels lead in half and run Shibuya from the game. With the tying run on second and nobody out, Madison Boer got Jeremy Schaffer to ground out to second as Walton moved to third with one down. Caldwell popped up foul and Breyvic Valera grounded out to end the game with the tying run stranded 90 feet away.
O'Shea (1-4) pitched six innings giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits while walking three and fanning four. Jay Voss tossed two scoreless innings in his home debut giving up one hit and two walks while striking out two. Dixon Llorens pitched a hitless ninth while walking one and striking out one.
Notes: The Chiefs four-game home losing streak is their longest since they lost five straight from August 28, 2012 through April 5, 2013, a span that covered the final three home games of last season and the first two of this year…The Chiefs are hitless in their last 17 at-bats with a runner in scoring position including a 0-for-8 mark Monday…O'Shea pitched six innings tying his longest outing with the Chiefs while striking out four, his most with the team…O'Shea gave up his least amount of earned runs in six starts with the Chiefs… Llorens has pitched 22 1/3 straight scoreless innings, a streak dating back to June 14…The Chiefs only allowed one hit following the second inning…Velazco recorded his 11th multi hit game of the season and threw out his 24th would-be base stealer in the seventh inning…Vargas extended his hitting streak to six games…Peoria is 7-8 against the Kernels this season… The Chiefs continue their series with the Kernels on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m… Tuesday is Taco Bell Tuesday where a receipt for a Doritos Loco Taco gets a buy one, get one free ticket deal at the Dozer Park Box Office….The Chiefs start RH Chris Perry (2-1, 2.41) against Kernels RH Tim Atherton (6-4, 2.58)… The broadcast can be heard, starting with the Premier Print Group Pre-Game Show at 6:15 p.m. on www.peoriachiefs.com/listenlive which also has downloads for a free app on the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android.