CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA - Joe Mauer was sent home to score by his brother Jake Mauer, Ricky Nolasco went 3 2/3 scoreless innings, and the Kernels scored six runs in the fourth inning to pound Wisconsin 9-0 on Tuesday night at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium. It was an all-around great night at the ballpark for 4,401 fans in Cedar Rapids as the Kernels evened up the series and got back to the .500 mark at 57-57.
Mauer - recovering from a right oblique injury - saw his first action in a Kernels uniform, going 1-for-3 with a single and a run scored as the designated hitter. His brother and Kernels manager, Jake Mauer, waved him home to score from second base in the third inning.
Nolasco was put on about a 50 pitch count on the mound and went 3 2/3 innings. He allowed no runs on just two hits - a single and a double to Taylor Brennan. Nolasco struck out two and walked one. The Twins right-hander - recovering from soreness in his elbow - allowed a single to Brennan on the first pitch of the game, along with a walk in the first inning. In the second, he worked around a one-out error by recording three groundouts. After a double by Brennan to begin the second, he induced a groundout and back to back strikeouts to end the inning. He recorded a lineout and groundout before exiting in the fourth inning.
Mauer is expected to play first base for the Kernels on Wednesday night while Nolasco is scheduled to start again for the Kernels on Sunday afternoon.
Mauer grounded into a double play in his first at-bat in the bottom of the first inning, but it resulted in the game's first tally. It scored Engelb Vielma from third base, who had reached on an error to begin the frame.
Mauer singled and scored in the third inning, as part of a two-run inning to put the Kernels ahead 3-0. Mauer singled up the middle to start the inning. He then reached second base on a wild pitch and scored on Bryan Haar's RBI single to left. Mauer was wheeled around third by Kernels manager, and brother, Jake, sliding in safely at home. Haar took second base on the throw home and quickly scored on Alex Swim's RBI single to put the Kernels up by three.
The Kernels scored six times in the fourth inning by sending 10 batters to the plate, jumping out to the 9-0 advantage. After Michael Quesada reached on an error, he was sent to third base on a double by Tanner Vavra. Vielma singled them both home with a RBI single to center, making the score 5-0.
Chad Christensen then homered for the second straight game. The two-run shot to left field increased the lead to 7-0.
Mauer's final at-bat was a sharp comebacker to the mound that resulted in a groundout. The Kernels were not done in the fourth inning as Haar and Swim collected consecutive singles. Haar scored on Max Murphy's RBI groundout. Then, Logan Wade's RBI single plated Swim to put the Kernels up by nine.
Ryan Eades (7-11) made his first relief appearance of the season with Nolasco getting the start. Eades was excellent for the win, going 4 1/3 scoreless innings. He allowed just two hits while striking out five and walking three. Hudson Boyd pitched the ninth inning, allowing no runs on one hit and one walk.
Barrett Astin (7-6) took the loss for Wisconsin, allowing nine runs (five earned) on 10 hits in four innings. He struck out one and walked two. Reliever Clint Terry went four hitless and scoreless innings, striking out two and walking none. Terry retired the final 12 batters that came to the plate for the Kernels on the night.
The Kernels and Timber Rattlers wrap up their series on Wednesday night at 6:35 p.m. It's Free Money Wednesday, sponsored by First Federal Credit Union. $500 will be given away at the main gates. Gates open at 3:00 p.m. for fans to watch batting practice.
RHP Chih-Wei Hu (4-0, 1.50) gets the start for the Kernels while RHP Chad Thompson (1-0, 1.29) takes the ball for Wisconsin.
Tickets are available at www.kernels.com. You can also visit the Kernels Ticket Office at Veterans Memorial Stadium or call 319-896-7560. Morgan Hawk brings you the action of all Kernels games live on KMRY Radio (93.1 FM/1450 AM) and online at www.kernels.com.