116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A passed ball in the 11th inning, of all things, officially won it Tuesday night. Travis Blankenhorn's triple into the right-field corner with two outs in the ninth tied it, so the Cedar Rapids Kernels could eventually get to that passed-ball point.
But Manager Tommy Watkins pointed to the moment before the Blankenhorn hit as the pivotal spot in this whacky 8-7 victory over Clinton at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
'The at-bat of the game came from Jimmy Kerrigan there in the ninth,' Watkins said. 'Fouling balls off, fouling balls off, not going away.'
Kerrigan, in just his fourth game since being rescued from independent ball, got behind in the count, battled and reached on an infield single up the middle. He stole second base and came home to tie it at 7-7.
'He got the hit, stole second. That was the game,' Watkins said.
Kerrigan had a chance to win the thing a couple innings later, coming to the plate with the bases loaded and none out. It was the same deal pretty much, as he got behind, fouled off pitches but struck out swinging at a 2-2 slider.
On a 2-2 pitch to Blankenhorn, Clinton reliever J.P. Sears threw a slider outside that catcher Nick Thurman couldn't corral. Joe Cronin, who led off the 11th with a double, sprinted home to win it.
'Those last few innings were something else,' Watkins said.
The Kernels (57-51, 18-20) took a 6-1 lead to the seventh inning, only to have Clinton score twice in the seventh and three times in the eighth. The three eighth-inning runs came against C.R. reliever Colton Davis, who allowed an earned run for the first time in 24 appearances and 33 innings out of the bullpen.
Clinton scored in the ninth thanks to a pair of Kernels errors. One came when shortstop Gorge Munoz dropped a throw tagging a runner trying to steal second, the other when left fielder Trey Cabbage dropped a flyball.
But all's well that ends well. Cronin doubled in the 11th, Munoz bunted him to third, reaching on a throwing error past first base.
Christian Cavaness was intentionally walked, and you know the rest. After the game, Munoz was sent to Rookie-level Elizabethton, his spot on the roster taken by infielder Jordan Gore, who hit .389 in 18 games at E-town.
Kane County comes to town now to begin a series that begins Wednesday night at 6:35.
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