EASTLAKE, OH – The Cedar Rapids Kernels (19-8, 59-36) used two home runs by right fielder Adam Brett Walker and a complete game from southpaw Brett Lee to defeat the Lake County Captains (13-14, 36-59) 4-1 on Friday night in front of 5,557 fans at Classic Park. Lake County has dropped four straight games and are now under .500 for the first time in the second half.
Right-hander Jake Sisco made his sixteenth start and seventeenth appearance for the Captains as he took on Lee for the Kernels.
Both pitchers exchanged zeroes for the first four innings with Lee striking out eight of the first fifteen batters.
Cedar Rapids took a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning. Left fielder Jeremias Pineda was hit by a pitch, he stole second and advanced to third on a single. Shortstop Niko Goodrum grounded out to second base to plate Pineda, his 35th run batted in this season.
The Captains tied the game in the bottom half of the fifth on one swing of the bat. Designated hitter Eric Haase hit his team-leading eleventh homer to left field, a solo shot.
Walker broke the 1-1 tie with a solo home run to left field to open the sixth inning. Walker, the reigning Midwest League Player of the Week, was a third round selection for the Twins in the 2012 draft.
Sisco pitched into the sixth inning before making way for reliever D.J. Brown. Sisco threw five plus innings, allowing two runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out one while taking his seventh loss of the season.
Brown loaded the bases before inducing a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play to extinguish the threat.
Walker added to the lead with a two-run home run to center field in the seventh inning. Walker had two roundtrippers in the game and finished the night with a league-leading 20 homeruns and 83 RBI’s.
Brown allowed two runs in his three innings of relief. Jack Wagoner threw a scoreless ninth inning with two strikeouts.
Lee threw his second consecutive complete game in seven days, allowing one run on six hits. He walked one and struck out a season-best ten batters. Lee improved to 7-4 on the year.
Cedar Rapids manager Jake Mauer, brother of Twins’ catcher Joe, spoke highly of Lee and Walker after the game, “(Adam Brett) Walker is a strong young man that can hit the ball a long way, and that is what he did tonight. (Brett) Lee is an outstanding pitcher for us. He has been our most consistent starter and the last two games it has showed.”
Captains manager Scooter Tucker had his take of the Kernels, “We ran into some good pitching tonight. We hit some balls hard but unfortunately they made the necessary plays to beat us.”
Lake County only managed six hits on the night. Shortstop Dorssys Paulino and Haase each had two hits in the game.
The Captains will welcome the Quad Cities River Bandits to Eastlake on Saturday night. In the first game of the series, Lake County will send LHP Ryan Merritt (5-9, 3.62) to the mound. RHP Chris Devenski (0-1, 3.60) will toe the rubber for the River Bandits. First pitch from Classic Park is set for 7:00 PM.