116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Grichuk’s disputed homer allows Kernels to walk off with win
CEDAR RAPIDS - Long, long gone. But was it fair?
“Yep,” said Cedar Rapids Kernels hitting coach Mike Eylward. “Fair when it went over the pole.”
Eylward was standing in the third-base coach's box as a substitute for ejected Manager Brent Del Chiaro when Randal Grichuk destroyed a pitch with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning Monday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. The ball flew as high as it did far down the left-field line, without a doubt a walk-off home run.
If it was fair, which home plate umpire Mike Dorantes ruled, allowing the Cedar Rapids Kernels to beat Beloit, 5-4, before 1,840 fans.
“I think it was fair when it crossed the foul pole, yeah,” Grichuk said with a Cheshire-cat smile. “Then it curved foul after that. Hopefully it was beyond the fence (first). We'll go with that.”
Grichuk's blast was his first since returning to the Kernels a week and a half ago. The first-round draft pick has had a lost 2011 season after separate injuries to his knee.
This was like taking all of his considerable frustration out in one swing. Speaking of frustration, losing pitcher Nelvin Fuentes (2-2) had his share, being ejected for firing his glove at the Beloit dugout after arguing with Dorantes about his fair call.
“You hit a ball square like that with a wood bat, that's the best feeling in the world,” Grichuk said.
Cedar Rapids (48-58 overall, 16-20 second half) has a pretty good feeling going into its four-game home series with Midwest League Western Division leading Quad Cities. The Kernels won the final two games of this three-game set to inch within a game of Beloit (55-51, 17-19) in the second-half standings.
Cedar Rapids began the day four games out of a playoff spot. This win came despite giving up a game-tying run in the top of the ninth.
The Kernels placed starting pitcher Heath Nichols on the disabled list Monday with a right shoulder impingement, a big blow. Second baseman Wes Hatton returned to the club to replace Jesus Campos, who was promoted.