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  • TinCaps smash their way to win
    Manager Michael Collins didn’t want his batters to think about the long ball this season.Yet this year’s TinCaps hit more than any team in Fort Wayne history.
  • Playoffs look more remote
    Miscues like Monday’s are the ones the TinCaps will kick themselves over if they miss the playoffs, which is looking more and more like a reality.
  • A much-needed win
    Cody Hebner fits all the conceived notions of a laid-back West Coast person. The TinCaps right-hander has blond locks flowing down the back of his neck, tattoos and a self-described mentality of “take it as it goes.
Photos by Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
After picking up bouncer from Jonathan Murphy of Cedar Rapids, TinCap Gabriel Quintana looks to throw to first base in the third inning.
Cedar Rapids 11, TinCaps 4

Kernels’ 5-run 3rd deflates TinCaps

Luis Domoromo of the TinCaps rounds second base after hitting a home run against Cedar Rapids in the fourth inning.

Hitting returned to Parkview Field on Monday, mainly for Cedar Rapids.

The visiting Kernels had 14 hits in an 11-4 win over the TinCaps in front of 6,345 fans.

Adam Brett Walker led the Cedar Rapids’ resurgence with the bat with an RBI double in the first and a two-run home run in the sixth.

Walker, who had three RBI, missed hitting for the cycle by lacking only a triple.

The offense helped the Kernels (61-37, 21-9 second half) win the series.

“Good hitters,” TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said of Cedar Rapids. “There were too many pitches up in the zone that made it easy and not getting ahead in the count.”

The two teams had combined for four runs in splitting the first two games of the series.

The TinCaps (54-45, 11-19) won the first game 1-0 on Saturday, while the Kernels picked up the pitching duel win the next day, 2-1.

“The first two games were pitchers’ duels, but we got away with a lot of pitches,” Valentin said.

Both teams used four pitchers Monday.

TinCaps starter Walker Weickel (3-5) took the loss by giving up seven hits and seven earned runs in three innings.

“Once he gave up two runs early, he was out of control,” Valentin said of Weickel. “He just kind of quit on himself and was lacking confidence. He just got down out there. If you want to pitch in the big leagues, you have to be tough mentally because there are going to be days you will be hit.”

Matthew Chabot (four runs) didn’t fare much better, with Joe Church and Jorge Guzman combining for 3 1/3 shutout innings.

The Kernels lead the Midwest League in hitting with an average above .270 and runs per game near 6.

Walker’s home run to left-center was his 22nd of the season and second in as many games.

Cedar Rapids blew the game open with a five-run third inning that broke a 2-all tie.

It is the most runs the TinCaps have allowed since a 12-6 loss to West Michigan on June 23.

The TinCaps had plenty of opportunities with 10 hits, three Kernels errors and three walks. The clutch hit, though, evaded Fort Wayne. “You got guys swinging at too many bad pitches,” Valentin said of the offense. “We got 10 hits, but it doesn’t mean anything because we didn’t get the hits when we needed them.”

Mallex Smith was 2 for 4 with two runs scored, while Dan Phillips and Gabriel Quintana also had two hits for Fort Wayne.

Jose Berrios (6-5) got the win with eight hits, three runs (two earned) and four strikeouts in six innings.