Talk about a wild one.
Wild pitches proved to be the difference Monday night as Cedar Rapids rallied for a 4-3, 10-inning win over the Quad-Cities to force the River Bandits to settle for a split of a four-game Midwest League series at Modern Woodmen Park.
Quad-Cities pitchers threw six wild pitches in the loss, including five that led the Kernels to come from behind and deny the River Bandits a chance to secure a split of the 18-game season series between the teams.
Cedar Rapids’ Aaron Whitefield scored the deciding run, reaching on a wild pitch after striking out to open the top of the 10th inning.
He advanced on a passed ball and was sacrificed to third by Jimmy Kerrigan before scoring when Jesus Balaguer threw his second wild pitch of the inning past catcher Abraham Toro-Hernandez.
The Kernels’ Shane Kennedy added what proved to be a needed insurance run when he deposited a two-out homer over the fence in left. That allowed Cedar Rapids to withstand a run in the bottom half of the inning by Quad-Cities, which left the tying run stranded on second.
On a night when pitchers combined to throw eight wild pitches, they helped force extra innings.
Three of them — one by starter Patrick Sandoval and a pair with two outs by reliever Robert Corniel — both denied Sandoval a chance to earn a victory and allowed the Cedar Rapids to tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the sixth.
Caleb Hamilton scored the tying run after reaching on a one-out walk, then making his way around the bases on three of the six wild pitches thrown in the game by Quad-Cities pitchers.
That was about the only way the Kernels could score off of Sandoval, who gave up just two hits over 5.2 innings of work and struck out eight batters to equal his best effort in eight outings since joining the River Bandits on July 11 from short-season Tri-City.
Quad-Cities threatened to break the 2-2 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning when Kristian Trompiz reached on a leadoff single which glanced off the glove of shortstop Royce Lewis as he attempted to make a play to his right.
Trompiz advanced on a wild pitch and took third on a groundout before Cedar Rapids third baseman Joe Cronin held onto a high pop up by Daz Cameron to send the teams into the eighth deadlocked.
The River Bandits led early, answering after the Kernels collected an unearned run in the top of the first.
Lewis reached on a leadoff walk, advanced to third on an errant pickoff attempt and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Whitefield to give Cedar Rapids a short-lived lead.
Quad-Cities answered in the bottom half of the opening inning, grabbing a 2-1 lead after Cameron singled and Chuckie Robinson doubled with one out.
Cameron scored on a groundout by J.J. Matijevic in the first Midwest League at-bat for the Astros’ second-round choice in the June draft.
Robinson advanced to third on the groundout and then pushed the River Bandits in front 2-1 when he was awarded home on an illegal touch after Cedar Rapids catcher Ben Rortvedt scooped up a passed ball with his mask.