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MWL: Garver’s three homers lift Kernels to win
CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA -- Mitch Garver powered the Kernels to an 8-1 series-clinching victory over Fort Wayne with three home runs and five RBIs on Monday afternoon. Bryan Haar added three singles as the Kernels outhit the Tin Caps 11-3 in the winning effort. Kernels starter Chih-Wei Hu allowed just two hits and one run over six innings to collect his second win while the Cedar Rapids bullpen hurled three scoreless frames to preserve the win. The Kernels won their fourth series in a row with the victory over Fort Wayne and finished the home stand at a mark of 5-1.
Mitch Garver blasted the Kernels into the lead in the first inning with a two-out two-run homer over the left field wall. Garver’s 10th home run of the season plated Logan Wade to put the Kernels in front 2-0.
Max Fried (0-1) took an early exit for the Tin Caps after two innings pitched. The southpaw allowed two runs on two total hits while walking and striking out one batter in the loss.
Ronald Herrera relieved out of the bullpen to begin the third. Herrera allowed three runs on four hits along with a single strikeout over four innings pitched in the outing.
Garver delivered again with two outs in the bottom of the third with his second home run of the game. Garver drilled a 1-0 offering from Ronald Herrera to left field to bring in Chad Christensen for the 4-0 lead.
Trea Turner gave Fort Wayne its first score in the top of the sixth when he came in on a Fernando Perez ground ball error. The short-hop grounder was mishandled by Logan Wade at second for a two-base error and allowed Turner to make it a 5-1 ball game.
Chih-Wei Hu (2-0) ended his afternoon after six strong innings pitched. The Kernels starter surrendered one unearned run on two hits over the six frames while walking two and picking up six strikeouts.
Brandon Bixler entered for Cedar Rapids on the mound to open up the seventh. Bixler struck out four in a dominant scoreless, hitless outing over the span of two frames in relief.
Fort Wayne sent Josh Richardson to the hill to begin the bottom of the seventh on the mound. Richardson tossed one scoreless, hitless inning with two strikeouts out of the bullpen.
Payton Baskette began the eighth on the rubber for the Tin Caps and allowed three runs on five this with one strikeout during one inning pitched.
The Kernels began a three-run eighth inning with Garver’s third home run of the afternoon. The solo shot marked Garver’s 12th long ball of the season and gave him five RBIs for the game. The inning continued on back-to-back RBI singles by J.D. Williams and Engelb Vielma to make it an 8-1 mark. Bryan Haar and Jason Kanzler crossed the plate on the run-scoring singles and both provided base-hits in the inning.
Dallas Gallant closed the ninth for Cedar Rapids and allowed one hit along with two strikeouts over one frame to hold the 8-1 advantage.
After an off-day on Tuesday, the Kernels travel east to open a six-game road trip that begins at Bowling Green Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. Cedar Rapids will battle the Hot Rods for three contests before opening a here-game set with the Dayton Dragons on Saturday.
The Kernels return home next on Tuesday, July 29, to square off with division-rival Burlington for a three-game series beginning 6:35 p.m. The series-opener will feature another Twins Tuesday where fans can get an on-line coupon from the Kernels Facebook page or email newsletter for a 2 for 1 ticket offer, presented by Great Clips. The Kernels will wear special jerseys and one lucky fan will win a pair of Minnesota Twins tickets given away at every Tuesday home game.
RHP Kohl Stewart will open the series Wednesday against the Hot Rods and will square off against a pitcher later to be determined.