CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA - The Kernels lost their first series in a month as Wisconsin won 6-1 in the rubber game of the series on Wednesday night at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Kernels had won their last eight series, dating back to July 4-6. The Timber Rattlers scored all six runs in the fourth inning.
Joe Mauer made his second start for the Kernels in a rehab assignment. After going 1-for-3 as the designated hitter on Tuesday night, Mauer played first base and went 0-for-3. He reached on a fielder's choice, flew out to deep left, and struck out swinging.
Mauer is expected to take an off day on Thursday and return to the Kernels lineup on Friday night v. Kane County.
The Kernels fell to 26-19 in the second half and 57-58 overall. Wisconsin improved to 25-19 in the second half and 61-52 on the season.
A night after the Kernels tallied six runs in the fourth inning to roll to a 9-0 win, the Timber Rattlers scored six runs in their fourth inning on Wednesday. The Rattlers recorded seven hits in the inning, including four in a row before an out was put on the board. Michael Ratterree started the inning with a double, and Clint Coulter quickly broke the scoreless tie with a RBI single to center field. Taylor Brennan then singled to right field, putting a pair on base. Dustin DeMuth picked up the fourth straight hit by doubling in both, making the score 3-0. With two outs, Jose Pena singled. Johnny Davis followed with a run-scoring single that brought DeMuth across the plate to increase Wisconsin's lead to four. Chris McFarland added another two runs with a double to the wall in left to give Wisconsin a 6-0 lead. Ratterree, who began the fourth inning, struck out as the 10th batter, ending the inning.
Chih-Wei Hu (4-1) exited after four innings and took his first loss. Hu had pitched six innings in all five of his previous starts and picked up a win in his last four starts, being named Minnesota Twins Minor League Organizational Pitcher of the Month. Hu walked the first batter of the game but didn't allow another base runner until the third. He didn't allow a hit until the third inning but ran into trouble in the fourth inning. He allowed a total of six runs on eight hits while striking out two and walking two.
The Kernels scored their lone run in the seventh inning, making the score 6-1. Logan Wade reached with a one-out single and later scored on Engelb Vielma's RBI single.
The bullpen trio of Brandon Bixler, Josue Montanez, and Nick Burdi did not allow a hit to Wisconsin in the final five innings. Bixler and Montanez each went two innings. Bixler struck out one and walked none, retiring all six he faced. Montanez struck out three and walked one. Burdi struck out two and walked one in the ninth inning.
Chad Thompson (2-0) went 6 2/3 innings for Wisconsin's win. He allowed just one run on seven hits while striking out four and walking one. Seth Harvey added 1 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit while striking out three and walking one. Chris Razo pitched the ninth inning for the Timber Rattlers, sending the Kernels down in order with one strikeout.
In the loss, Tanner Vavra collected three hits for the Kernels.
The Kernels now open up a four-game series v. the Kane County Cougars, the Midwest League affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. Thursday night's game begins at 6:35 p.m. The Plumbers & Pipefitters Pavilion will be open to the public. Fans can enjoy an all you can eat and drink package for $26 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Fans already with tickets to the game can upgrade at the Kernels Ticket Office for just $16. It's also a Z 102.9 Thirsty Thursday and Little Caesar's College Night. Get 12 oz. regular draft beer or 20 oz. bottled soda and water for just $2.00. Plus, fans who show their college ID at the ticket office can get a Club ticket and two slices of pizza for just $7.00. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.
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.