116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS – The whole “ghost runner” thing began in the minor leagues back in 2019.
It’s not really a ghost runner, of course, it’s an actual person. That’s just what some people say about the way the minors and now Major League Baseball go about extra-inning games.
The guy who made the third out in the previous inning begins each extra inning at second base. Play proceeds from there.
The rules were designed to prevent games that go 13, 14-plus innings and obliterate bullpens and pitching staffs. Some fans hate the whole thing, others enjoy it, others tolerate it.
At any rate, the Cedar Rapids Kernels had one of those ghost runner games Thursday night, just their third this High-A Central League season. Wander Javier hit a three-run home run to left field with none out to give them a 4-1 win in 12.
Javier got a 3-2 fastball from losing pitcher Fabian Blanco and lined it just over the fence in left field underneath the Twins Retired Numbers sign. That ended an 0-for-21 slump for shortstop.
Cedar Rapids is 2-1 this season in extras.
Overall, this one was not a game that will forever go into a time capsule.
There was a total lack of offense, with no runner (ghost or not) reaching third base in regulation. Add some dubious baserunning by both teams, sloppy play defensively and then poor situational hitting in extras.
The pitching was good, though. Kernels starter Tyler Beck went a career-long 4 2/3 innings, giving up just two hits before being removed because he hit his pitch limit.
Reliever Derek Molina gave up one hit in 2 1/3 innings, striking out four. Owen Griffith went the next two innings without allowing any damage.
Peoria scored in the top of the 10th against Ryan Shreve after Kernels second baseman Daniel Ozoria threw ill-advisedly and wild past first trying to double up a runner after catching a soft liner. Shortstop Javier also had a fielding error earlier in the inning that allowed a Chiefs player to reach base.
Cedar Rapids tied it in the bottom of the 10th on Michael Helman’s one-out single to left-center, but he was thrown out at second trying to stretch his hit. The Cedar Rapids bullpen has gone 20 1/3 innings without allowing an earned run.
The Kernels had them at first and third with one out in the 11th, but Ozoria struck out swinging. Bases were juiced with two away, but Jair Camargo struck out swinging.
Shreve (2-1) got the victory, not giving up a hit in his three innings of work. He has been good since coming to the team from low-A Fort Myers recently, with a 1.88 earned run average in seven appearances.
“Ryan has done a nice job for us here,” said Kernels Manager Brian Dinkelman. “He had that little stint where he had some health problems and missed a few weeks. But other than that, he has done a good job with three pitches: a fastball, slider, change. He attacks the zone well, has a little swing and miss in some of his pitches. I know he was doing well down there (in Fort Myers), and he has come up here and done a nice job for us so far.”
The teams play again Friday night at 6:35.
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