CEDAR RAPIDS — Blayne Enlow beat the Quad-Cities River Bandits at their own game Tuesday.
The Cedar Rapids right-hander limited Quad-Cities to a pair of singles over six innings to send the hard-hitting Kernels on their way to an 11-2 Midwest League victory over the host River Bandits at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“He really didn’t give us much to work with, pitched a real good game,’’ Quad-Cities manager Ray Hernandez said following his team’s most lopsided loss of a 7-5 start to the season. “He looked like a lot of our pitchers have looked so far this season.’’
And on the flip side, Cedar Rapids hit the usually-steady River Bandits pitching staff hard, grabbing extra bases on nine of their 15 hits.
The Kernels clubbed four doubles, three triples and two home runs and scored runs in six of the final seven innings as they pulled away from a 5-2 lead after six innings.
“We were in it, 5-2, needing to put together an inning, but that didn’t happen,’’ Hernandez said.
Enlow, a 6-foot-4 20-year-old who was a third-round draft pick of the Twins in 2017, struck out six batters and faced the minimum before Enmanuel Valdez reached base on a one-out walk in the fourth.
Valdez, who reached base in each of his four plate appearances including on an eighth-inning double, came around to score when Cesar Salazar drove a single up the middle for Quad-Cities’ first hit of the game.
His two-out RBI base knock came after Valdez had advanced on a balk before putting the River Bandits on the board.
Quad-Cities added a run in the fifth when Ross Adolph reached on an error and came around to score when Marty Costes reached on Cedar Rapids’ second error of the night.
The River Bandits trailed 5-2 at that point, but the long ball helped Cedar Rapids even the ongoing series at one win apiece.
A three-home run home run to right in the third inning by Trey Cabbage and a solo shot to left by Jacob Pearson in the seventh allowed the Kernels to take an early lead and then maintain it.
“We couldn’t hold them down,’’ Hernandez said. “Austin (Hansen, the River Bandits starter) struggled to find his spots early and that made it tough.’’
Cabbage’s league-leading fourth home run of the season came during the first of three straight innings when the Kernels made the River Bandits pay for leadoff walks.
Cedar Rapids extended and then maintained its leads on sacrifice flies by Gabe Snyder in the fourth inning and Michael Davis in the fifth before breaking the game open with a four-run eighth that included a two-run triple by Cabbage, who finished a double shy of the cycle.