Cedar Rapids, IA- The Peoria Chiefs lost three leads Wednesday night but held onto their fourth chance to beat first-place Cedar Rapids 8-7 in 10 innings to start a three-game road series against the Kernels. The win moves the Chiefs to 16-15 in the second half and 54-44 overall this season.
The Chiefs wasted no time in getting to Christian Powell as CJ McElroy drew a first-inning leadoff walk and moved to third on a single by Charlie Tilson. Jacob Wilson walked to load the bases and McElroy scored on a wild pitch. Jordan Walton singled home Tilson for a 2-0 lead and with one out, Breyvic Valera made it 3-0 with a single to righ-t. Nick Martini walked to load the bases before Powell escaped the inning with a strikeout and groundout.
Peoria kept the momentum going in the top of the second as McElroy led off with a double and took third on an error by Max Kepler in left field. With one out, Wilson singled through a drawn-in infield to bring home McElroy for a 4-0 Chiefs lead.
The Kernels erased the Chiefs lead with just two hits in the bottom of the second. Adam Brett Walker reached on a throwing error by Patrick Wisdom and Kyle Helisek walked Max Kepler. After two flyouts, Michael Quesada drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases. Jeremias Pineda cut the lead in half with a single to center and Jonathan Murphy drew another walk to reload the bases. Jorge Polanco tied the game with a two-out double and all four runs were unearned with the game tied after two innings.
Helisek allowed an infield hit to start the third and was replaced after consecutive walked loaded the bases. Joe Donofrio came in from the bullpen and got a pop up and a double play ball to escape the inning with the game still tied 4-4.
The Chiefs regained the lead in the fourth inning against Powell. Gerwuins Velazco led off with a double to right-center and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by McElroy. Tilson drew a walk and Wilson put the Chiefs on top 5-4 with a double to left field. Powell escaped further damage as he struck out Walton and got Wisdom to flyout to end the inning.
Cedar Rapids tied the game in the fifth inning as Midwest League veteran Mike Gonzales led off with an opposite field home run, his first in three games this season. Gonzales hit 13 home runs in Beloit in 2010 and 15 in 2011 before the Twins changed affiliations to Cedar Rapids this season.
The Chiefs took the lead for the third time in the game against Hudson Boyd in the seventh. Wisdom led off with a double and Valera drew a walk. Wisdom came around to score and Valera took third on an error at second base by Joel Licon. Ildemaro Vargas put the Chiefs up 7-5 when his sacrifice fly to left scored Valera.
Again the Kernels came right back to tie the game against reliever Sam Tuivailala. Murphy and Polanco led off with consecutive singles and Gonzales was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Walker's league-leading 89th RBI of the season came on a single to left and Thomas Lee came in for Tuivailala with the bases still loaded. Lee struck out Kepler for the first out before Harrison singled to center to score Polanco and tie the game 7-7. With the go-ahead run at third, Joel Licon lined into an inning-ending double play.
The Chiefs again took the lead in the top of the tenth inning against Brian Gilbert who was making his Kernels debut. After two quick outs Wilson doubled off the left field wall to put a runner in scoring position. Jeremy Schaffer, who took over for an injured Walton in the sixth inning, singled to center with two strikes to plate Wilson for the 8-7 lead. Zach Russell took over for the Chiefs in the bottom of the inning and with two outs Cedar Rapids put two on with a walk and infield single. Russell got Murphy on a two-hopper to second base to end the game on a force out.
Helisek allowed four unearned runs on three hits over two innings while he pitched to three batters in the third inning. The lefty struck out three and walked a career-high five in the no-decision. Donofrio allowed one run on one hit over three innings of work. He walked one and struck out three while also getting out of a bases-loaded jam. Tuivailala allowed two runs on three hits and a hit batter in one inning of work. Lee (3-1) allowed three hits over three shutout innings with two strikeouts. Russell nailed down his fourth save with one hit, one walk and one strikeout in one shutout inning.
Notes: The Chiefs have scored three runs in the first inning in two straight games and have more runs in the first inning this season (63) than any other inning…Helisek had issued four walks in his last four starts, a span of 26 innings, before walking five of the 15 batters he faced Wednesday night…Donofrio has stranded all nine runners he has inherited this season…Walton re-aggravated a finger injury that also saw him leave Monday's game early…Wilson leads the Chiefs with 21 doubles and 63 RBI and he has 23 multi-hit games to go along with 15 multi-RBI games…The home run by Gonzales was the first ever hit off Donofrio in 76 1/3 professional innings…The four-run lead ties the largest blown lead of the season for the Chiefs…The Chiefs turned three double plays and now have 91 on the season…Peoria is 6-4 in extra inning games and 2-1 in Cedar Rapids in 10-inning games….The Chiefs are 9-4 in the first game after a day off, either scheduled or because of mother nature…The Chiefs are 16-15 in the first game of a series, 6-10 on the road…The Chiefs are 4-3 in Cedar Rapids this season and 6-4 overall against the Kernels…The Chiefs are 8-5 on Wednesday this season but just 3-5 on the road…The series continues in Cedar Rapids on Thursday at 6:35 p.m. as the Chiefs send LH Ben O'Shea (0-0, 4.50) to the hill against Kernels LH Josue Montanez (4-2, 5.23)…The broadcast can be heard, starting with the Premier Print Group pre-game show at 6:20 p.m. on www.peoriachiefs.com/listenlive which also has downloads for a free app on the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android.