Fort Wayne, Indiana
On a night where snowflakes fell during the first inning, the Fort Wayne TinCaps dropped their fifth consecutive game to start the season, falling to the Lansing Lugnuts, 10-1.
The Lugnuts took command of the game early, sending eight batters to the plate in the second inning and scoring five runs.
Lugnuts’ left fielder Ryan Noda led off the second with a base hit off TinCaps starter Tom Cosgrove. After Kevin Smith drew a walk, Cullen Large drove the ball into right field, scoring Noda and putting runners at second and third. Large advanced to third on a ground out and then scored on a wild pitch, making the score 3-1.
Samad Taylor drew a walk and then stole second. With two outs, leadoff man Chavez Young doubled to bring in Taylor. Kevin Vicuña singled to plate Taylor, but TinCaps shortstop Justin Lopez cut off the throw from left and relayed the ball to Reinaldo Ilarraza at second to catch Vicuña as he tried to extend his single.
The Lugnuts added three more runs in the top of the seventh.
With one out, first baseman Kacy Clemens singled and then scored on Noda’s double to the left field corner. Kevin Smith singled up the middle to score Noda, advancing to second on the throw home. After moving to third on Large’s ground out, Smith scored after TinCaps reliever Ben Sheckler was called for a balk to bring the Lugnuts lead to 9-1.
Large and Smith were responsible for the Lugnuts‘ other two runs, each the result of solo homers—Smith in the fifth and Large in the ninth.
Jeisson Rosario provided the lone bright spot for the TinCaps’ offense with what appeared to be a sure double to deep left field. As the throw came in from the Lugnuts’ Noda, there was a lapse in the infield defense, with no player at second to catch the ball. Rosario hardly broke stride on his way to third, and as the ball continued to roll unfielded toward the first-base line, manager Anthony Contreras waved Rosario home for what was scored as an inside-the-park home run.
Following the first inning, though, the TinCaps moved runners into scoring position only three times the rest of the game. Additionally, the Lugnuts’ pitching dominated TinCaps batters, combining for 18 strikeouts over the course of the game. Reliever Donnie Sellers was especially effective, striking out 12 of the 18 batters he faced, including six of the last seven to end the game.
If the strikeouts tonight show early challenges at the plate, the TinCaps’ run production this season has as well; the team has scored only 5 runs in their last three games. At the same time, pitching has faced its own difficulties, and Monday’s game marks the fourth consecutive that the Caps have given up at least nine runs.
The TinCaps continue the series against the Lugnuts on Tuesday evening. The Padres’ first-round draft pick and highly touted prospect, MacKenzie Gore, is slated to get his first start for the team.
Game Notes: The announced attendance was 1,912.