CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA - Tyler Wells recorded 11 strikeouts Thursday - including six in a row to open a quality start - but the Kane County Cougars rallied in the ninth inning for a 5-3 win over the Cedar Rapids Kernels at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Jermaine Palacios also finished a home run shy of hitting for the cycle as the Kernels lost the series opener.
The Kernels (7-7) held a 3-2 lead with two outs during the ninth inning when the Cougars (10-4) surged in front, 5-3. Batting with two runners aboard and a 1-2 count against Colton Davis, Luis Silverio tied the contest with an RBI single. Alexis Olmeda followed with a go-ahead single, and Marcus Wilson added Kane County's third straight two-out RBI single to cap the scoring. Tommy Eveld protected the two-run lead with a perfect bottom of the ninth to finish the come-from-behind win.
Kane County's comeback spoiled a stellar streak and splendid start from Wells. His six consecutive strikeouts to begin his outing was the best streak of his career, and his 11 total strikeouts trailed only his personal-best 14 strikeouts August 22, 2016 with the Elizabethton Twins against the Bristol Pirates. Wells only allowed two runs and six hits over seven innings pitched, and he did not yield any walks.
Cedar Rapids held three early leads before losing Thursday's contest. Palacios doubled and scored in the first inning on a Lewin Diaz single, but Wilson evened the score in the top of the third after an RBI double. Christian Cavaness doubled and came home on an error in the third to give the Kernels a 2-1 lead until Wilson hit a solo home run during the sixth. Diaz hit a sixth-inning sacrifice fly that put Cedar Rapids ahead by a 3-2 margin before Kane County's ninth-inning rally.
Jose Martinez (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth inning and was credited for the victory. Davis (0-1), who had not allowed a run as a Kernel prior to this game, was charged for a blown save and a loss. Eveld earned his third save in as many chances.
Palacios finished 3-for-4 with a triple, a double, and a single. He struck out in the eighth in an opportunity to complete the cycle. The last Kernel to hit for the cycle was Gabe Jacobo, who accomplished the feat May 8, 2009 at the Quad Cities River Bandits. Also, Wilson fell a triple shy of hitting for the cycle with the Cougars in their series-opening win.
Cedar Rapids and Kane County continue this series Friday at 6:35 p.m. with Kernels right-hander Sean Poppen (0-0, 1.23) slated to pitch against Cougars southpaw Cody Reed (0-0, 1.00). Catch Friday's action with Chris Kleinhans-Schulz on 1450 KMRY AM and 93.1 KMRY FM and also online at www.kmryradio.com, www.kernels.com, and MiLB.TV.
Join the Kernels Friday Mug Club by purchasing a 16 oz. mug of regular draft beer or soda for $6.00, and refills for that mug only cost $3.00 during any Friday home game. The Kernels Friday Mug Club is sponsored by Stadium Bar & Grill, Shuey's Restaurant & Lounge, Red's Public House, Mulligan's Pub, and Z 102.9. Also, the first 500 fans through the gates Friday will receive a free reusable baseball shopping bag.
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.