PEORIA, ILL. - Two-out RBI hits from Ben Rortvedt and Mark Contreras led the Cedar Rapids Kernels to a 3-1 win Monday against the Peoria Chiefs at Dozer Park. The Kernels are now 3-0 this season and hold a 1-0 advantage in this four-game road series.
Monday's contest opened as a pitchers' duel between Kernels right-hander Blayne Enlow and Chiefs right-hander Evan Guillory. A low, running catch by Contreras helped Enlow escape a bases-loaded jam in the first inning. Guillory started with five shutout innings and kept the game scoreless.
The Chiefs (1-2) tallied the first run of the series opener. With one out and runners at the corners in the fifth, Yariel Gonzalez lifted a sacrifice fly to right field against Kevin Marnon that plated Taylor Bryant and put Peoria in front, 1-0.
Rortvedt answered in the sixth inning to give the Kernels (3-0) their first lead. A two-out walk by Jose Miranda extended the inning, and Andrew Bechtold produced a single. Rortvedt batted next and followed a wild pitch by driving in both runners with a two-out single to left field for a 2-1 Cedar Rapids advantage.
Contreras added a critical insurance run within the ninth to stretch the Kernels' edge to 3-1. Bechtold singled against Levi MaVorhis to start the inning and advanced to second base via groundout. Two batters later, Contreras doubled to right field and brought in Bechtold.
Marnon held the Chiefs scoreless in the sixth and seventh innings, and Jared Finkel worked around a late jam to finish the contest. Pitching in the ninth with the potential game-tying runs in scoring position, Finkel induced a game-ending groundout.
The win went to Marnon (1-0) while Guillory (0-1) was charged with the loss. Finkel earned his first Kernels save Monday. With a 3-0 start to the season, Toby Gardenhire is the first new Kernels manager to win his first three games with Cedar Rapids since Bill Mosiello's 4-0 start in 2009.
Game two of this four-game series is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Tuesday. The probable pitchers are Cedar Rapids southpaw Tyler Watson (0-0, -.--) and Peoria right-hander Alvaro Seijas (0-0, -.--). Tuesday's contest will be broadcast online via www.kmryradio.com and www.kernels.com.
Cedar Rapids' next homestand features three games and begins Friday, April 13. Fans can purchase tickets for all Cedar Rapids 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.