Kernels split double-header with Peoria

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CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids Kernels’ pitching staff got lit to the tune of five home runs and a dozen runs in the first game of a double-header Monday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

So, naturally, it followed with a bizarro game.

Three relievers combined on a five-hitter as Cedar Rapids blanked Peoria, 2-0, in the nightcap to get the old kissing-your-sister ultimate result. The Chiefs scored four times in the top of the seventh inning to take the opener, 12-8.

The Kernels (21-16) turned to Max Cordy to start Game 2. It was his third career start, his first since 2015.

The right-hander with the unique sidearmish delivery delivered with three good innings. Colton Davis was next up, and he threw blanks in the fourth and fifth.

Tom Hackimer closed it out by posting zeroes in the sixth and seventh. Cedar Rapids got an RBI single from Caleb Hamilton in the fourth and a Jermaine Palacios home run an inning later to account for the game’s only runs.

“Just a spot start for Cordy,” Kernels manager Tommy Watkins said. “(Tyler) Wells is down and on the DL ... We just thought we’d go with a bullpen day. A shutout, you can’t beat it.”

The Kernels are minus two starters, with Wells out with a minor shoulder injury and Alex Schick unavailable for the last month with an elbow injury. Cedar Rapids received pitcher Zack Tillery from Minnesota Twins extended spring training Monday, with Watkins saying he will throw out of the bullpen.

For now, a six-man starting rotation will be decreased to five guys: Eduardo Del Rosario, Domenick Carlini, Clark Beeker, Sean Poppen and Tyler Beardsley.

The first game was definitely disappointing, as there aren’t many times you score seven runs in an inning and get beat. That was C.R.’s fate, its unlucky seven coming in the third.

“I think one thing we’ve got to work on is when we take the lead and get somebody done, we’ve got to keep the pressure on,” Watkins said.

The resurgent Christian Cavaness capped the rally with a two-run home run the other way to left field. With a batting average hovering near .100, the outfielder has rebounded to go 10 for his last 25 at the plate, with three longballs and 10 of the 11 RBIs he has this season.

The ball was carrying mightily to left and left-center, as that is where five of the game’s six home runs were hit. The exception was Vince Jackson’s three-run shot off the green batter’s eye in dead center in the seventh.

Jackson hit a woeful .097 in 10 games for Peoria in April, got sent to Cardinals extended spring training and made his re-debut with the Chiefs a smash. He also homered in the sixth and walked twice.

Both starting pitchers were touched for seven runs, yet walked away with no-decisions. Eduardo Del Rosario of the Kernels allowed his seven in five innings, while Peoria’s Jordan Hicks (a third-round draft pick in 2015) lasted just 2 2/3 innings.

Logan Lombana (0-2) ended up taking the ‘L’ for Cedar Rapids, which came into Monday tied with Kane County for first place in the Midwest League’s Western Division. The Kernels returned home after a 3-3 road trip that included brutal travel to Dayton and Bowling Green.

This double-header came about to make up a game between the teams that was rained out a couple of weeks ago in Peoria. The teams get back at it Tuesday night at 6:35.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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