CLINTON, IOWA - Six shutout innings by Brady Anderson helped the Cedar Rapids Kernels notch a 4-1 victory Sunday against the Clinton LumberKings. Cedar Rapids now owns a season-high-tying seven-game win streak, matching a streak that lasted from July 11 through July 18 with its triumph at Ashford University Field.
As of Sunday afternoon, Cedar Rapids' magic number to clinch a playoff spot is two, and the magic number to clinch home-field advantage in the opening round is three. The Kernels could secure at least a playoff berth with a win and a loss Monday by the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers or a Kernels win and two losses by the Burlington Bees in games played Sunday night and Monday.
Anderson blanked the LumberKings (43-20, 82-51) over the first six innings of Sunday's matinee. He allowed four hits and no walks while adding four strikeouts in his fourth consecutive quality start. Anderson kept Clinton scoreless in the sixth inning after escaping a two-on, no-out jam by handling a sacrifice bunt and striking out the next two batters.
In the second inning, the Kernels (39-24, 75-57) took a 1-0 lead. Batting with the bases loaded and one out, Christian Cavaness hit a ground ball to second base. Kevin Garcia was forced out at second, but Cavaness beat the throw to first base and allowed Nelson Molina to score.
Jaylin Davis and Molina each added solo home runs to increase the Kernels' lead. Davis opened the top of the fifth with his seventh Kernels round-tripper, which cleared the right-field wall. On the first pitch of the seventh inning, Molina crushed a solo blast to right field - his second home run of the season - to give Cedar Rapids a 3-0 advantage.
The LumberKings tallied their only run during the seventh inning. Logan Lombana was pitching with runners in scoring position and one out when he was called for a balk. Gus Craig scored from third base on the balk to cut Clinton's deficit to 3-1.
Cedar Rapids registered one final run in the top of the eighth to secure its winning margin of 4-1. Brandon Lopez reached on a one-out single and scored after a two-out double from Zander Wiel.
Sunday's winning pitcher was Anderson (3-0), who has won each of his last three starts. Clinton's Pablo Lopez (6-1) conceded two runs over five innings and took his first loss of the season. Lombana was credited with his second hold, and Tom Hackimer pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth for his fifth save.
Monday's series finale is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., and Kernels right-hander Eduardo Del Rosario (5-2, 3.81 ERA) will start against LumberKings southpaw Nick Wells (1-7, 5.30 ERA). Listen to the action with Chris Kleinhans-Schulz on 1450 KMRY AM and 93.1 KMRY FM and online at www.kmryradio.com and www.kernels.com.
Tickets for all Kernels home games are available at www.kernels.com, the Kernels Ticket Office and by calling (319) 896-7560. The Kernels Ticket Office is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays. The ticket office is closed on Sundays except on Kernels Sunday home dates when it will open at 11:00 a.m.