Rattlers can't hold early lead in Cedar Rapids

TJ Mittelstaedt is greeted after his home run in the fourth inning put the Rattlers up 4-0 at Cedar Rapids on Wednesday night. (Wisconsin Timber Rattlers)

By Chris Mehring / Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | April 13, 2011 6:55 PM ET

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CEDAR RAPIDS, IA - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers had a 4-0 lead over the Cedar Rapids Kernels Wednesday night at Perfect Game Field.  But, the Kernels rallied for four runs in the sixth and two more in the eighth to top the Rattlers 6-4.  Ricky Alvarez singled in the tying run in the sixth and the go-ahead run in the eight as walks and errors by the Rattlers allowed the Kernels to mount their comeback.

TJ Mittelstaedt gave the Timber Rattlers (4-3) a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly in the top of the second inning.

Wisconsin broke out with three runs in the top of the fourth inning.  Jason Rogers started the frame with a single and a stolen base.  A wild pitch on a walk to Mike Walker put runners at the corners.  Greg Hopkins singled to score Rogers.  Later in the inning Cameron Garfield grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to score Walker from third base.  Mittelstaedt was next and he drove a home run to rightcenter for a solo homer and a 4-0 lead.

Rattlers starting pitcher Matt Miller kept the Kernels (3-4) off the board through five, but ran into trouble with one out and the bases empty in the bottom of the sixth.  A hit batsman and a pair of walks loaded the bases for Cedar Rapids.  David Harris, who just joined the Kernels today, lined a double to rightcenter to clear the bases and knock Miller out of the game.

Alvarez greeted Wisconsin reliever Stosh Wawrzasek with an RBI single to tie the game 4-4.

In bottom of the eighth inning, the Rattlers defense buckled.  Wawrazasek retired the first batter.  Ryan Jones was next and he sent a grounder to short.  The throw was off, but the tag was applied by Cody Hawn.  However, the ball popped free to allow Jones to reach.  Wawrazasek shattered the bat of Harris on the next at bat, but the ball dropped into shallow leftcenter just out of the reach of a pair of Rattlers fielders to put runners at first and second with one out.

Eric Marzec came into the game to face Alvarez, but the result was similar to the sixth inning.  Alvarez welcomed Marzec to the game with a single to right to drive in the go ahead run.  The throw went to third and was wild for another error.  A passed ball allowed the final run of the inning to score and give Cedar Rapids a 6-4 lead.

Kevin Johnson came out of the Kernels bullpen and tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to nail down the save.

The final game of Wisconsin's brief four game road trip is Thursday night against the Kernels.  Jimmy Nelson (0-0, 1.50) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers.  Cedar Rapids sends Justin La Tempa (0-0, 13.50) to the hill.  Game time is 6:35pm.  Tune in to AM1280 WNAM or www.timberrattlers.com to hear the broadcast starting with the Miller Lite Pregame show at 6:15pm.

The Timber Rattlers return home on Friday night to start a three game series against the Peoria Chiefs.  Game time on Friday at Time Warner Cable Field is 6:35pm.  Tickets are available for all six games of the homestand between April 15 and April 20.  Call the Timber Rattlers box office at 800-WI-TIMBER or (920) 733-4152 during regular business hours.

                  R     H     E
WI 010 300 000 -  4     6     3
CR 000 004 02x -  6     7     1

Click here for a complete boxscore of Wednesday's game

TJ Mittelstaedt (1st, 0 on in 4th inning, off Caleb Graham)

WP: Donn Roach (3-0)
LP: Stosh Wawrzasek (0-1)
SV: Kevin Johnson (1)

TIME: 2:49
ATTN: 932

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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