CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A six-run bottom of the fourth inning broke a 2-2 tie and carried the Cedar Rapids Kernels to an 8-2 triumph over the Kane County Cougars on Friday night at Perfect Game Field.
Max Kepler put the Kernels (86-49, 46-21) on top in the fourth by striking his ninth home run of the season against Starling Peralta (2-3). It was the third dinger of the night surrendered by Peralta, who also coughed up back-to-back blasts in the first to Niko Goodrum and Jorge Polanco.
Cedar Rapids continued to pour it on in the fourth after a pair of walks from Peralta. Michael Quesada cracked a triple to right-center, scoring Mike Gonzales and Bo Altobelli. Joel Licon hit the next pitch from Peralta down the left field line to bring home Quesada. Goodrum added a two-run double to put the Kernels up by six. Peralta left the contest after the fourth.
Josue Montanez (7-5) cruised through seven for Cedar Rapids after a shaky first inning. Gioskar Amaya started the game by reaching on a two-bagger. Willson Contreras produced an infield hit to bring home Amaya while Giuseppe Papaccio knocked home Jeimer Candelario with a single to center, giving the Cougars (53-79, 23-43) at that point, a 2-0 cushion.
Only five hits were managed by the Cougars after the first inning, all of them from the combination of Carlos Escobar and Reggie Golden. Escobar ended up with three hits. Four relievers combined for four scoreless innings out of the Cougars' bullpen including Al Yevoli, Matt Iannazzo, Andrew McKirahan and Kenny Socorro, who pitched for just the second time in his pro career.
The Cougars return to Fifth Third Bank Ballpark on Saturday night to take on the Peoria Chiefs at 6:30. Right-hander James Pugliese (0-1) will start for the Cougars against fellow right-hander Corey Jones (7-2). For tickets, please call (630) 232-8811 or visit www.kccougars.com.