Cougars Victimized by Former Heroes
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - When the Arizona Diamondbacks traded with the Minnesota Twins for Eduardo Escobar in July, the Kane County Cougars took a hit. The direct blow came on Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium, when former Cougar Jhoan Duran (7-5) worked nearly seven innings of one-hit, scoreless baseball and helped his new team, the first place Cedar Rapids Kernels (38-23, 70-60) take the series opener from the Kane County Cougars (33-27, 68-61) by a score of 3-1.
Yoel Yanqui picked up the only hit against Duran with a one-out single in the bottom of the first inning. The only other base runners that Duran issued were walks to Yan Sanchez, Jose Caballero and Ryan Grotjohn. The former Cougar hurler fanned a season-high 10 strikeouts and also received some help from his defense. Gabriel Maciel was also traded in the Escobar deal and sprinted to rob Grotjohn of an extra-base hit to lead off the inning. It ended up being one of Duran's three perfect frames.
Duran's performance over shadowed the Cougars' current starter Franklyn Soriano (1-3). The lefty's lone run allowed was a solo shot to Michael Helman in the bottom of the first inning. After that Soriano cruised to his fourth quality start this month, despite the tough luck loss.
The Cougars picked up their only run in the top of the eighth when Jose Herrera came home on a balk by Yohan Quezada. By that time, the Cougars were already faced with a larger deficit after Michael Davis' two-run single.
Quezada earned his first save of the year.
Despite the loss, the Cougars remain one game ahead of the Beloit Snappers for the Wild Card lead. With nine games remaining on the regular season, the Cougar's magic number is nine.
The four-game series continues on Saturday. Jayson McKinley (8-3, 3.10) takes the mound against Cedar Rapids Edwar Colina (7-4, 2.48). First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Coverage on AM 1280 WBIG and kccougars.com begins at 6:20 p.m.
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