FORT WAYNE, IND. - Jose Martinez and Rickey Ramirez combined for 5.1 shutout innings out of the bullpen as the Cedar Rapids Kernels defeated the Fort Wayne TinCaps, 6-4, Saturday at Parkview Field. Yeltsin Encarnacion provided a go-ahead home run and helped Cedar Rapids (17-11, 56-42) improve to 40-0 when
FORT WAYNE, IND. - Jose Martinez and Rickey Ramirez combined for 5.1 shutout innings out of the bullpen as the Cedar Rapids Kernels defeated the Fort Wayne TinCaps, 6-4, Saturday at Parkview Field. Yeltsin Encarnacion provided a go-ahead home run and helped Cedar Rapids (17-11, 56-42) improve to 40-0 when leading after eight innings this season.
Martinez (5-3) was the winning pitcher in Saturday's series opener. He replaced Kai-Wei Teng in the fourth inning with the Kernels trailing by a 4-3 margin. Martinez induced a bases-loaded, inning-ending groundout to escape the jam, and he continued to post scoreless work through the end of the seventh.
Ramirez kept Fort Wayne (9-19, 42-54) off the scoreboard over the final two innings. Ramirez pitched a perfect eighth inning, but a hit batsman and back-to-back singles loaded the bases to open the ninth. He bounced back with three strikeouts in a row to notch his second save in as many tries with Cedar Rapids.
Encarnacion's decisive drive broke a brief tie within the top of the fifth. Daniel Ozoria hit a leadoff single and scored on a double from Spencer Steer. On the very next pitch, Encarnacion crushed a two-run home run to right field that gave the Kernels a 6-4 lead.
The fifth-inning rally was a quick answer to Fort Wayne's go-ahead surge from the fourth. Luke Becker grounded into an error to drive in Agustin Ruiz, and Michael Curry later added a two-run single for a short-lived 4-3 TinCaps advantage.
Steer highlighted a quick start to the offense Saturday evening. He scored during Gilberto Celestino's RBI double in the first inning before Encarnacion came home via wild pitch. Fort Wayne trimmed the gap to 2-1 on a run-scoring single by Ethan Skender, but Steer produced a second-inning sacrifice fly and pushed the lead to 3-1 Cedar Rapids at that time.
Up next, Cedar Rapids and Fort Wayne square off at 1:05 p.m. ET (12:05 p.m. CT) Sunday with Kernels right-hander Austin Schulfer (6-4, 3.08) and TinCaps southpaw Cullen Dana (0-0, -.--) listed as the probable pitchers. Chris Kleinhans-Schulz will have the call on 1450 KMRY AM and 93.1 KMRY FM and also online at www.kmryradio.com and www.kernels.com.
Cedar Rapids will be back at home from Wednesday, July 24 through Monday, July 29. 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.