Twins Minor League Report (7/4): Power and Pitching Help Kernels
Adam Brett Walker knows his role on this Cedar Rapids Kernels team, and on the 4th of July, he came through. “My main goal this year was to drive in runs. I think that’s kind of a main part for me. When runners are on, runners in scoring position, I try to have a quality at bat.”
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Twins Minor League Report (7/4): Power and Pitching Help Kernels
Walker came to the plate in the bottom of the 2nd inning of a scoreless game with Max Kepler on first base. Walker crushed the first pitch over the wall in left center field, and the ball likely didn’t get over 20 feet in the air. “I was trying to look for a fastball over the plate. He threw four straight (balls) to Max. He was just trying to get it over, get a strike over. I was trying to put a good swing on it.”
The blast proved to be all the Kernels offense needed thanks to Josue Montanez and a couple relievers.
Montanez was put into the starting rotation following the Midwest League All-Star game after pitching in the Kernels bullpen. On this night, he was very good. He began with five shutout innings. The lefty was throwing a fastball between 88 and 90. He showed a very good changeup at about 80 to 82. He also had a good curveball in the low 70s. In total, he went 5.2 innings without allowing a run. He gave up three hits, walked two and struck out five. Alex Muren entered the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the sixth. He needed just one pitch to get out of that inning and keep the shutout going. In the seventh inning, he gave up one run that cut the lead to 2-1.
Dalton Hicks stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 8th and hit a long home run over the 400' sign in centerfield to get that run back and give the Kernels a 3-1 lead.
Tyler Jones worked the final two innings to record the save. He struck out two, including the final batter on a 96 mph fastball.
Catcher Michael Quesada was asked if he could tell before the game that Montanez could have a good night. His response might surprise you. “Honestly, he didn’t really have anything in the bullpen. He just pitched on pure guts. The change up was our key pitch, our out pitch. He did a really good job of keeping guys off balance and throwing strikes when he needed to.”
There’s little question about what happened in the sixth inning. Quesada continued, “He got a little tired at the end, but it’s expected. He’s typically a reliever and switching over to the starting role. So for him, it’s still getting used to going longer innings and throwing more pitches.”
Hicks and Walker’s home runs were, for each, his 13th, putting both within one homer of team leader, Travis Harrison, who has 14. Hicks and Harrison were both 2-4.
The game was played in front of 5,631 fans at Perfect Game Field in Cedar Rapids. It was the second-largest crowd at the stadium. The game started at 5:05. Fans were entertained throughout the game by a couple of dueling pianists. The played and sang the classics . Following the game, the were a couple of presentations.
One very neat thing that the Kernels have done several times throughout the year is have a silent auction for special Kernels uniforms. On Thursday, the Kernels wore special Armed Forces jerseys. Each player’s game-worn jersey was auctioned. Every player’s jersey went for at least $100, and all of the money goes to charity. Following the game, the winners of each auction go down to the field and get the jerseys from the players. They are able to get them signed and take pictures with them as well. It’s really a neat thing.
At that point, they opened up the field and kids were able to run the bases, and people were allowed to play catch in the outfield. Later in the evening, the Kernels put on a firework display. They timed it well with the Cedar Rapids Downtown fireworks show, which followed soon after.
It’s always a great trip to watch the Kernels. This is a well-run organization and they are great people. Spent a good 20 minutes talking to GM Doug Nelson who told us that they are quite pleased with the increased attendance this year. Although there is no way to officially say so, it is likely more people from Minnesota and/or Twins fans from Iowa, are coming to games.
I definitely recommend getting to Cedar Rapids for a weekend of Kernels games if and when you can. A great time would be the final weekend of July. It will be Twins weekend and Tony Oliva and others will come and there will be plenty of fun throughout that weekend. This roster, even after the promotion of Byron Buxton, is tremendous and very fun to watch.
Rochester Red Wings 6, Pawtucket Red Sox 2
Pedro Hernandez started and got the win. The lefty gave up two runs on five hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out three. Aaron Thompson recorded the three-inning save thanks to three shutout innings. He gave up three hits, walked one and struck out three.
Drew Butera had the big hit. He was 2-4 with a long home run, his second of the season. Chris Colabello doubled for the 22nd time this year. Jermaine Mitchell made his Red Wings debut and recorded an infield single.
New Britain Rock Cats 6, Portland Sea Dogs 4
The Rock Cats were down 4-0 after one inning. Slowly, the offense fought back. Trevor May started and gave up those four runs on eight hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out six. Cole Johnson worked the next two innings and did not allow a run. He walked two and struck out three in two innings. Dakota Watts picked up his first save of the year with a perfect ninth.
Jordan Parraz hit a three-run homer (5th with Rock Cats) to cut the lead. Josmil Pinto also homered for the 12th time. Eddie Rosario was 2-5. The game was tied going into the bottom of the ninth. With a runner on, Miguel Sano hit a pinch-hit double to give the Rock Cats the lead. Eddie Rosario followed with an RBI single; he also had a fifth inning triple.
Ft. Myers Miracle
No Game Scheduled.
Elizabethton Twins 5, Bluefield Blue Jays 6
Felix Jorge joins Yorman Landa and Randy Rosario as three very exciting young pitching prospects for the E-Twins. In this game, Jorge threw five shutout innings. He gave up just one hit, walked none and struck out four. Ethan Mildern gave up a hit and a walk, but no runs, in his one inning. Dallas Gallant worked a scoreless eighth.
Logan Wade led the offense by going 2-3 with his first triple and first home run. Mitch Garver was 2-4. Javier Pimentel notched his fourth double. Zach Granite doubled for the first time.
That brings us to the 8th inning with the E-Twins ahead 5-0. Gallant remained in the game to start the eighth. He was charged with three runs on two hits and two walks. Kuo-Hua Lo came on to get those final outs. However, he gave up three more runs on three hits and a walk and the E-Twins were unable to score in the top of the ninth.
GCL Twins 3, GCL Orioles Rays 4
The story here, of course, is that Twins top pick from last month’s draft, Kohl Stewart, made his first professional appearance. He gave up one run on two hits in two innings. He walked none and struck out two. Brandon Easton came on and gave up one run on two hits in his two innings. Dan Sattler made his second appearance and went 1-2-3. Josh Guyer gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in his inning. Fernando Romero came on for the final three innings. He walked one and struck out five.
Evan Bigley made another appearance and went 2-4. Zach Larson led off the bottom of the first inning with his third home run of the season.
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cedar rapids kernels