PEORIA, ILL. - In an exciting back-and-forth finish Saturday night at Dozer Park, the Cedar Rapids Kernels defeated the Peoria Chiefs, 8-7, in 10 innings. Cedar Rapids (32-29) is now two games behind the Burlington Bees (34-27) in the Western Division first-half wild card race. The Kernels also secured a 2-0 series lead over Peoria (26-34).
The Chiefs rallied from a 2-0 eighth-inning deficit to grab a 4-2 advantage. Brendan Donovan broke up the shutout with a bases-loaded walk. Two batters later, Nolan Gorman hit a sacrifice fly to tie the contest. Brady Whalen added a walk before Ivan Herrera's two-run single put Peoria ahead.
Down to its last out, Cedar Rapids rattled off five runs for a 7-4 edge in the top of the ninth. Gabriel Maciel's RBI single drove in Andrew Bechtold. Gilberto Celestino loaded the bases with a walk, and Wander Javier crushed a two-out, two-strike grand slam to send the Kernels in front.
Peoria forced an extra inning by scoring three runs within its half of the ninth inning. Delvin Perez collected a two-run double, and Gorman brought in Perez on a two-out, full-count triple.
The Kernels finally claimed an 8-7 victory in the 10th. Ben Rodriguez opened the inning at second base before moving to third base during a Jared Akins groundout. Bechtold singled past a drawn-in infield to drive in Rodriguez. Derek Molina stranded Peoria's placed runner with a perfect inning of relief.
Molina earned his team-high seventh save and wrapped up a victory that went to Alex Schick (1-0). Parker Kelly (0-1) gave up the decisive run in a losing decision.
Saturday's contest began as an all-star matchup between Josh Winder and Diego Cordero. Winder registered seven shutout innings and protected an early 2-0 lead created by RBI singles from Bechtold and Estamy Urena. He also posted a game-high seven strikeouts. Cordero notched a quality start of his own with just one runs allowed over 6.1 innings pitched.
This five-game, four-day series will continue Sunday with a doubleheader. The twin bill opener will begin at 1:05 p.m., and the doubleheader finale will begin at least 30 minutes following the conclusion of game one. Chris Kleinhans-Schulz will call the twin bill on 1450 KMRY AM and 93.1 KMRY and also online at www.kmryradio.com and www.kernels.com.
The final Kernels homestand in the first half of the 2019 season begins June 11 and runs through June 16. Fans can purchase tickets for all Cedar Rapids 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 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. 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.