Bullpen Falters For Patino; TinCaps Fall, 6–3
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Although the TinCaps produced offense for starter Luis Patiño, the bullpen faltered, giving up two separate three-run innings in a 6–3 defeat to the Lansing Lugnuts.
The TinCaps took the lead in the bottom of the third when eight and nine hitters, Nick Feight and Jack Suwinski, respectively, led off the inning with back-to-back doubles.
Feight hit a burner down the first-base line, and Suwinski followed with a line drive to the right field corner, bringing in Feight with a stand-up double. Suwinski advanced to third on a wild pitch, and after a ground out, Esteury Ruiz hit a bloop single that landed just out of the diving reach of center-fielder Reggie Pruitt, scoring Suwinski for a 2-0 lead. Although the next two batters walked and singled to load the bases with one out, Lugnuts’ starter Maverik Buffo recovered, striking out Gabriel Arias and Luis Almanzar to end the inning.
The TinCaps preserved that lead as long as Luis Patino stayed on the mound.
Although he struggled to maintain consistent control—walking three batters, hitting one, and throwing several in the dirt, Patiño kept the Lugnuts off the scoreboard, pitching five no-hit innings in his fifth start. The greatest threat the Lugnuts posed to the right-hander came in the second, when Patiño walked the first two batters. He quickly reigned in the Lugnuts, however, with a quick spin move to pick off the runner on second and then retiring the next two batters to get out of the inning unscathed.
That narrative changed, though, when Caleb Boushley entered the game in the top of the sixth, as Lugnuts’ batters quickly jumped on the reliever, scoring three runs to take the lead. With one out, Lugnuts’ left-fielder Brock Lundquist singled. Boushley struck out clean-up hitter Brandon Grudzielanek, but Ryan Noda followed, launching a two-run bomb to right field to put the Lugnuts on the board and even the score at two. Yeltsin Gudiño then singled to right field, where Tirso Ornelas misplayed the ball, allowing Gudiño to advance to third. Ryan Gold doubled to bring him in and give the Lugnuts a 3-2 lead. After Boushley walked the seventh batter he faced, manager Anthony Contreras pulled him from the game; Korey Anderson took the mound and retired the next batter to end the inning.
The TinCaps responded in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. Leading off, Almanzar cracked a double off the left-field wall and advanced to third when Lugnuts’ reliever Kyle Weatherly muffed a throw to first on a slow roller from Juan Fernandez, putting runners at the corners.
Feight hit a grounder that was fielded behind second base. Although the Lugnuts turned a double play, Almanzar scored to tied the game.
The game remained knotted at three heading into the ninth, with the TinCaps’ best reliever, Travis Radke, on the mound. Although Radke entered the game in the eighth and forced the Lugnuts into an inning-ending double play, he uncharacteristically struggled in the ninth, walking the lead-off batter to put what would become the winning run on base. After a failed sacrifice attempt by Andres Sotillo, Pruitt scalded the ball down the first-base line; it landed just fair and then curled into foul territory. By the time Ornelas could dig the ball out of the TinCaps’ bullpen, Pruitt was safe at third, and the Lugnuts had a 4-3 lead. Turning over to the top of the order, the Lugnuts’ Samad Taylor singled in Pruitt for an insurance run. Norberto Obeso reached first on a call of catcher interference and was then forced out on a fielder’s choice by Lundquist. With runners at the corners, Lundquist broke for second. As soon as catcher Luis Campusano threw to second, Taylor sprinted from third base for the final run of the game.
Announced attendance was 7,295
Feight, who joined the TinCaps on June 1, had his best night, going 2-for-4 with an RBI
Anderson pitched well in relief, going two scoreless innings with no hits, one walk, and two K’s
In the fourth inning, Feight and Suwinski again combined for back-to-back hits (singles), but the Caps could not convert them into additional runs.
Besides Feight and Suwinski, two TinCaps had multiple hit games: Campusano had two singles, and Ruiz had a single and a double.
Ken A. Bugajski lives and works in Fort Wayne, Indiana. An English professor by trade, he spends many summer nights with his wife and daughter at Parkview Field, home of the TinCaps.