GENEVA, ILL. - Minnesota Twins prospect Travis Blankenhorn collected his third home run in four days as the Cedar Rapids Kernels picked up a 6-1 win Tuesday afternoon against the Kane County Cougars at Northwestern Medicine Field. The Kernels tied this three-game series at one win apiece and handed the Cougars their first loss of the season.
Blankenhorn's round-tripper closed the scoring in the seventh, stretching Cedar Rapids' lead to 6-1. Kane County pitchers Bo Takahashi and Sam Lewis had combined to retire 14 consecutive batters before Blankenhorn lifted a solo shot over the wall in right-center field. Blankenhorn's three home runs trail only Great Lakes' Carlos Rincon, who already has four homers this year.
Cedar Rapids (3-3) jumped on Kane County (5-1) early with a three-run first inning. Jermaine Palacios led off the game with a single and made it to third base before he was driven in by Lewin Diaz. Two batters later, Shane Carrier plated Diaz on a double. Brandon Lopez followed with an RBI groundout that gave the Kernels a 3-0 lead.
The Kernels also scored in the second and third innings to build a 5-0 advantage. In the top of the second, Aaron Whitefield reached on a bunt single and later scored after an RBI double from Blankenhorn. Lopez drove in another run during the third when Jaylin Davis scored on a groundout.
Right-hander Tyler Beardsley retired the first nine batters that he faced, but Kane County finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth. Anfernee Grier broke up a perfect game bid with a leadoff double. Grier scored during a one-out single by Ramon Hernandez to trim the deficit to 5-1. Kane County loaded the bases later in the inning but could not add any more runs.
Beardsley (1-0) earned the victory, conceding just one run over five innings pitched. Brady Anderson recorded the first save of his professional career by following Beardsley with four scoreless and hitless innings of relief. Takahashi (0-1) took the loss for the Cougars. He allowed five runs - two earned - in five frames of work.
The Kernels will play the finale of this three-game series at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday. Cedar Rapids right-hander Eduardo Del Rosario (1-0, 0.00) and Cougars right-hander Jon Duplantier (0-0, 0.00) are scheduled to start the contest. Listen to the coverage with Chris Kleinhans-Schulz online at www.kmryradio.com and www.kernels.com.
Cedar Rapids will return home Thursday, April 13 to play a three-game set against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Fans can purchase tickets for all Kernels home games by visiting www.kernels.com, going to the Kernels Ticket Office, or calling (319) 896-7560. The Kernels Ticket Office is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. On Sundays when the Kernels have a home game, the Kernels Ticket Office will open at 11:00 a.m.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels are the Midwest League affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.