The Kane County Cougars (9-2, 54-27) used a crooked third inning to grab a large lead Tuesday night over the Peoria Chiefs (8-4, 45-36) on their way to a 6-1 victory in front of 6,961 at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.
All of the Cougars' scoring came in the bottom of the third inning. Arturo Reyes tossed 2 perfect innings to begin the game, but the Cougars forced him out in the following inning.
After a passed ball scored Carlos Penalver, Ben Carhart batted with runners at first and third. He fell behind 0-2, but battled back to draw a full count.
On the ninth offering from Reyes, Carhart belted the pitch off the scoreboard for a 4-0 lead. Carhart's second home run of the season was far from being the only big hit of the inning. Jeimer Candelario added 2 more runs with a double, scoring Yasiel Balaguert and Jacob Rogers. Reyes (5-4) left with the Cougars leading 6-0.
The Cougars' Paul Blackburn (7-2) took advantage of the big lead as he worked 6 scoreless innings, allowing 4 hits and striking out three. It was Blackburn's fifth quality outing of the season. Jose Arias contributed with 2 scoreless innings in his first appearance off the disabled list.
The Chiefs grabbed their only run in the ninth inning off James Pugliese.
The series continues Wednesday with a pitching matchup of Tyler Skulina (4-3, 2.63) for the Cougars against Peoria's Alex Reyes (5-5, 4.57). First pitch at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.