Powell, Polanco keep Kernels popping

Righty hurls six one-hit innings, infielder delivers four RBIs

Jorge Polanco had three hits and turned three double plays Thursday. (Emily Jones/MiLB.com)

By Brandon Simes / Special to MLB.com | June 27, 2013 9:17 PM ET

The Killer Bs retired from Houston years ago, but the Killer Ps might just be getting started for Cedar Rapids.

Christian Powell took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and Jorge Polanco homered and drove in four runs to lead the Class A Kernels to a 9-0 win over Burlington at Perfect Game Field on Thursday night.

No. 17 Twins prospect Polanco also singled twice, was hit by a pitch and scored twice in his fourth multi-hit effort in the last seven games. The switch-hitting second baseman raised his average to .308 and has 12 hits in his last 24 at-bats.

"I'm just doing the same things I always do," Polanco said. "I always hit before the game and try to hit to the opposite field and line drives."

"Every time [Polanco] comes up, he's got a chance to change the game with one swing," Powell said. "It's a good feeling having him in the batter's box. … He also made some really good plays in the infield turning double plays to save me some pitches."

Powell (2-1) permitted just one hit while striking out four and walking five in six innings to earn the win. The 6-foot-5 right-hander allowed a single to Chevy Clarke with one out in the sixth.

"I was trying not to think about [the no-hitter] too much, but it was hard not to," Powell said. "I knew I hadn't given up any hits."

After Clarke's single, Powell got Exicardo Cayones to ground out to Polanco. The 21-year-old walked the next two batters before striking out Andrew Ray to end his outing.

"Once I got in the stretch, I got a little tired there and couldn't make an adjustment," Powell said. "I had thrown 81 or so pitches. I wanted to come out [for the seventh] but after talking with our pitching coach [Gary Lucas], he felt I was a little fatigued."  

Powell, who has never thrown a no-hitter at any level, entered the game having given up two runs and nine hits over 12 innings in his previous two starts. He made his first start of the season -- and first as a pro -- June 7 against Quad Cities.

The 21-year-old Twins farmhand lowered his ERA to 3.13 in his fourth start of the season after spending time in extended spring training. In 2012, he struck out 20 in 15 2/3 innings in 10 relief appearances in the Appalachian League.

"I had some things I needed to work on, mainly control and just logging more innings," Powell said.

"He was really good [tonight]. We were just thinking about playing good defense behind him," said Polanco, who helped turn three double plays.

Tyler Jones picked up his fifth save with two strikeouts in three perfect innings to finish the one-hitter.

Cedar Rapids first baseman Dalton Hicks raised his average to .310 with two hits and two RBIs. With 73 RBIs, he stands two off Astros prospect Preston Tucker's Minor League-leading pace. Shortstop Niko Goodrum, Minnesota's No. 16 prospect, scored three times and reached base in all five plate appearances with a single and four walks.

Brandon Simes is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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