CEDAR RAPIDS — Baseball’s an easy game to figure out, only when it isn’t. It wasn’t Sunday.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels walked 10 times, and their pitchers didn’t walk anyone. Yet Quad Cities walked away, pun intended, with a 6-0 win at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“I don’t know if I’d say it’s true we drew 10 walks,” Kernels Manager Toby Gardenhire said. “We had some good at-bats to draw walks and also had some where the pitcher was just kind of all over the place. Their guys did a good job of pitching. They have some good pitchers, and they pitched out of jams and stuff like that. We just didn’t really do anything offensively.”
Andrew Bechtold had a solid double to left field in the fourth inning and newcomer Gabriel Maciel a bunt single to lead off the fifth. That was the extent of C.R.’s hitting attack.
Quad Cities starting pitcher Parker Mushinski walked six guys in his four innings but gave up only one hit. Luis Garcia walked four in his four innings but gave up only one hit.
“We just didn’t swing it,” Gardenhire said.
Kernels starter Jordan Balazovic, meanwhile, was peppered for four first-inning runs, the victim of some poor luck, actually. A seeing-eye single up the middle began things for Q.C., a bloop single just over the shortstop’s head followed and there was softly hit double on the left-field line and a well-placed groundball double down the third-base line.
Balazovic recovered to give his team six innings, which was good.
The roster changed over the weekend when the Kernels were assigned a pair of players acquired by the parent Minnesota Twins in a trade that sent big league infielder Eduardo Escobar to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Maciel, a 19-year-old outfielder from Brazil, and pitcher Jhoan Duran, who is scheduled to start Monday night’s game at Quad Cities, moved over from Kane County of the Midwest League.
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“It’s the trade deadline, that’s what happens,” Gardenhire said. “Some teams are unloading guys, and some teams are trying to load up on guys. That’s just the way it goes. You’re in A-ball, there’s just a lot of prospects at this level, you’re going to have roster changes. And we’ve had a couple.”
The manager said he likes what he has seen in two games from Maciel, who also walked twice Sunday.
“He plays the game the right way,” Gardenhire said. “He can run, dropped a bunt down today for a hit, he’s a switch hitter, doesn’t strikeout very much, takes good at-bats all the time. And he’s only 19 years old, a kid. An exciting guy, fun, a good baseball player to have around.
“I think the hope is he gets a little bigger and stronger and starts driving the ball a little bit more. He’s a really good outfielder, just a solid player. With a younger player like that, who plays the game the way he does, he’s got a chance, got a chance to be pretty good.”
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