CEDAR RAPIDS, IA - Jose Miranda hit a grand slam and drove in a total of six runs for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in their 15-4 win over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Wednesday afternoon at Perfect Game Field. The Kernels pulled away from Wisconsin by hitting four home runs in a nine-run eighth inning.
Cedar Rapids (25-25) scored twice in the bottom of the first inning. Wisconsin starter Bowden Francis got ahead of lead-off batter Akil Baddoo 0-2, but wound up issuing a walk. Baddoo would steal second base to get into scoring position. Royce Lewis followed with an RBI single to drive in Baddoo. Later in the inning, Miranda doubled to center and Lewis scored to put the Kernels up 2-0.
Wisconsin (23-30) loaded the bases with one out against Kernels starter Blayne Enlow. However, the Kernels got out of the inning with a double play ball
Francis had two outs with none on in the bottom of the second, but issued another walk to Baddoo to extend the inning. An errant pickoff throw allowed Baddoo to take second base. Then, Lewis and Alex Kirilloff had back-to-back RBI doubles and the Kernels were up 4-0.
The Rattlers took advantage of some wildness by Enlow to tie the game with a four-run third inning. Devin Hairston and Joantgel Segovia walked to start the inning. Trever Morrison reached on a bunt single and a wild throw to first by Enlow allowed Hairston to score. Segovia would score - and Morrison would take third - on a wild pitch by Enlow to pull the Rattlers to within two runs. They weren't done.
Pat McInerney walked and stole second to get into scoring position. Gilbert Lara tied the game with a two-out, two-run double up the first base line.
However, the Kernels would retake the lead in the bottom of the third. Robby Rinn singled with one out and Ben Rortvedt followed with a double to score Rinn all the way from first to give Cedar Rapids a 5-4 lead.
The game was halted by rain after the bottom of the third inning for a rain delay.
Payton Henry started the top of the fourth after a 26-minute delay with a single, but he was left stranded when the inning ended.
Matt Hardy relieved Bowden Francis to start the bottom of the fourth and hit Lewis with one out. Lewis stole second and scored on a two-out double by Miranda to give the Kernels a 6-4 advantage.
The game remained 6-4 until the eighth inning. Michael Petersen, who had relieved Hardy to start the sixth inning, walked the first two batters he faced in the eighth before retiring Lewis on a flyball to medium center. The runner at second tagged and took third, the throw to third missed the cutoff man and the runner from first wound up on second base. The Rattlers elected to walk Kirilloff intentionally to load the bases.
Unfortunately, the strategy backfired on the Rattlers as Miranda blasted a long homer to left on a 1-0 pitch for a grand slam and a 10-4 lead. Jacob Pearson was next and he launched the next pitch to left for another homer. That was all for Petersen.
Jose Cuas took over on the mound and his second pitch to Rinn left the yard to right field for three consecutive home runs.
Rortvedt would be next and he doubled before Cuas got the second out of the inning. Then, Jordan Gore double to send Rortvedt home. The final blow of the inning was when Baddoo homered to right for the fourth Cedar Rapids home run of the inning.
The Rattlers got a leadoff single from Henry in the ninth inning, but it wasn't nearly enough. Jose Martinez retired the final three batters in order to close out the game. Wisconsin hitters went out quietly as three Kernels pitchers retired 13 of the final 14 Rattlers to bat in the game.
The final game of the series - and of Wisconsin's eleven-game road trip - is Thursday night. Nelson Hernández (6-2, 4.33) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Rattlers. Cedar Rapids has not named their starter yet. Game time is 6:35pm.
The radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM starting with the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino Pregame Show at 6:15pm. The broadcast is also available on the Tune In and IHeart Radio apps. Subscribers to MiLB.tv can watch the game over the internet.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.