Fort Wayne, Indiana
Top prospect MacKenzie Gore made his first appearance in Fort Wayne, but the TinCaps fell to the Lansing Lugnuts, 6–5, and dropped to 0–6 in the young season.
The Padres first-round pick in 2017 (and third pick overall), Gore pitched three innings in his debut; he gave up two runs on five hits and a walk. Gore was solid at the start, striking out four of the nine he faced in the first two innings.
In the third, however, Lugnuts Chavez Young and Kevin Vicuña led off with consecutive singles. Kevin Smith then launched a long drive that bounced off the center field wall, scoring both baserunners. Smith was caught trying to run to third, and Gore retired the next two batters to end the inning.
With these runs, the Lugnuts tied the game at 2–2, as the TinCaps had taken a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second, sparked by shortstop Gabriel Arias’ leadoff double to right-center field. After a fly out, Juan Fernandez hit a slow-rolling ground ball between first and second, drawing Lugnuts first baseman Ryan Noda away from the base. Without a play at first, Noda threw to third, but Arias beat the tag, putting runners at the corners. With two outs, Tre Crater walked to load the bases, and center fielder Jeisson Rosario doubled to drive in two runs.
The TinCaps regained the lead in the bottom of the third. With runners on first and second, Juan Fernandez singled down the third base line to score Luis Campusano and move Arias to third. Arias came home on a wild pitch by Lugnuts starter Maximo Castillo.
To relieve Gore, left-hander Travis Radke entered the game in the top of the fourth, and gave up a home run—a drive to right field—to the first batter he faced, Christian Williams. Brock Lundquist followed with a double and eventually scored on a Reggie Pruitt sacrifice fly to tie the game at four.
In the bottom of the fifth, Arias hit his second double of the night and moved to third on a ground-out by Justin Lopez. As he did in the second, Castillo again threw a wild pitch that allowed a run to score, giving the TinCaps their third lead of the night.
But the Lugnuts rallied again, taking the lead for the first time in the top of the seventh.
After Vicuña reached base on an error, Smith doubled to put two runners in scoring position, and Noda brought them both in on a hard hit single to right. Manager Anthony Contreras then pulled Radke and brought in Caleb Boushley for his first TinCaps appearance. Boushley pitched out of the inning and finished out the game, retiring 9 of the next 10 batters.
Despite losing the lead three times, the TinCaps continued to fight and had a chance in the ninth. With two outs, Campusano drew a walk, bringing Arias—the TinCaps’ offensive hero of the night—to the plate. Arias smacked a liner to deep right field, but a diving catch on the warning track by Chavez Young ended the game.
The TinCaps will look for their first win of the season Wednesday, with the first day game of the season. Nick Margevicius, the Opening Day starter, is expected to take the mound.
MacKenzie Gore had flashes of brilliance on Tuesday, but struggled towards the end of his debut with the @TinCaps. Here are highlights from his first game of 2018. @EVT_News @SD_SportingNews pic.twitter.com/qoqcHGKZjq
— Zach Groth (@Zach_ABC21) April 11, 2018
Despite most of the game taking place with temperatures in the high 30’s, attendance was announced at 1,813.
Carlos Belen struggled at the plate, striking out three times in as many at bats.
Although Travis Radke gave up four runs on four hits, he also recorded six Ks in his three innings of work.
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.