MIDLAND, MICH. - The Cedar Rapids Kernels jumped out to a 6-0 lead Thursday at Dow Diamond and held on for a 6-3 win over the Great Lakes Loons. Tyler Watson pitched six shutout innings for the victory as Cedar Rapids (19-8, 51-45) secured a 2-0 advantage in this three-game
MIDLAND, MICH. - The Cedar Rapids Kernels jumped out to a 6-0 lead Thursday at Dow Diamond and held on for a 6-3 win over the Great Lakes Loons. Tyler Watson pitched six shutout innings for the victory as Cedar Rapids (19-8, 51-45) secured a 2-0 advantage in this three-game series at Great Lakes (8-19, 32-63).
A four-run third inning produced an early 4-0 Kernels lead. Akil Baddoo capped a string of three consecutive hits with an RBI single that plated David Banuelos. Three batters later, Ben Rodriguez blasted a three-run home run to left field.
The Kernels also scored during the fourth and fifth innings to increase their lead to 6-0. Jacob Pearson hit an opposite-field solo shot to left field in the fourth. Robby Rinn added an RBI single within the fifth that brought in Baddoo.
Watson (3-4) earned his first victory since May 2 with a quality start against the Loons. Watson tallied a season-high-tying six strikeouts over six scoreless innings. He produced back-to-back strikeouts to strand runners in scoring position in the second inning, and he induced a double play to get out of a bases-loaded jam during the sixth.
Great Lakes tagged Melvi Acosta for three runs in the seventh to cut its deficit in half. Brandon Montgomery led off with a solo home run to left-center field. Later in the inning, Devin Mann collected a two-run single that sliced Cedar Rapids' lead to 6-3.
Jose Martinez replaced Acosta and retired all seven batters that he faced including four consecutive strikeouts to finish the contest. Martinez posted a career-high-tying six strikeouts overall and picked up his third save of the season.
Bryan Warzek (0-1) gave up three runs over 2.2 innings pitched in his Midwest League debut and suffered the loss Thursday. Justin Hagenman allowed Cedar Rapids' final three runs in relief.
Friday's series finale between Cedar Rapids and Great Lakes is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET (6:05 p.m. CT). Kernels right-hander Bailey Ober (6-1, 4.36) will face Loons right-hander Gerardo Carrillo (0-0, 0.00). Chris Kleinhans-Schulz will call the action on 1450 KMRY AM and 93.1 KMRY FM and also online at www.kmryradio.com and www.kernels.com.
Cedar Rapids' next homestand runs from Wednesday, July 25 through Sunday, July 29. During the homestand, the Kernels will partner with Minor League Baseball and BUSH'S Beans for a food drive to collect non-perishable food donations for HACAP. Fans can purchase tickets for all Cedar Rapids 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.