Fort Wayne, Indiana
On a warm and humid night in Fort Wayne, the Bowling Green Hot Rods peppered the TinCaps with 14 hits, eventually overtaking the home team in the top of the ninth for a 7-5 victory.
TinCaps’ reliever Jared Carkuff ran into trouble at the start of the final inning, giving up a lead-off single followed by a walk. TinCaps’ manager Anthony Contreras brought in the team-leader in saves, Travis Radke, but a single to the first batter he faced drove in a run to tie the game at five all. With runners on second and third, clean-up batter Ronaldo Hernandez grounded to third, but having no play at home, Luis Almanzar threw to first for the put out as a run scored. Devin Davis then singled to right field for the last run in the 7-5 win.
Until the final inning, the TinCaps stayed even with or led the Hot Rods, jumping out to an early lead in the first, when Esteury Ruiz began the half-inning by drawing a walk and then stealing second base.
After a flyout, Tirso Ornelas drew another walk to put runners at first and second. Ruiz and Ornelas combined for a double steal, and a throwing error by Hot Rods’ catcher Hernandez allowed Ruiz to reach home. In the bottom of the second, Justin Lopez launched a lead-off rainbow to right field for a four-bagger that gave the TinCaps a 2-0 lead.
After the Hot Rods knocked in two runs off starter Aaron Leasher to tie the game in the top of the third, the TinCaps reestablished their two-run lead in the bottom of the fifth. Robbie Podorsky singled to begin the inning, and Ruiz then beat out a bunt to put runners on first and second. Gabriel Arias followed with a successful sacrifice bunt to move them over, and Ornelas doubled to left field, bringing in both runners and giving the TinCaps a 4-2 lead.
The Hot Rods responded in the sixth with three consecutive hits that, along with a Will Stillman wild pitch, again tied the game. In the bottom of the eighth, the TinCaps’ capitalized on an error to regain the lead. With two outs, Carlos Belen sent a check-swing grounder back to the mound, but reliever Phoenix Sanders mishandled it, allowing Belen to reach first safely.
Justin Lopez came through with another clutch at-bat, sending a drive into deep left field, bringing Belen all the way around for a 5-4 lead. For the second time in four games, however, the bullpen could not preserve the lead in the ninth.
The TinCaps face the division-leading Hot Rods again Wednesday night. Nick Margevicius is expected to start.
Announced attendance was 3,856.
Ruiz and Lopez both had multiple hit games, each going 2-for-3 plus a walk.
Hot Rods shortstop Taylor Walls was 4-for-5, falling short of the cycle after a double, single, and triple in his first three at bats.
TinCaps starter Leasher averaged one K per inning while giving up four runs on seven hits in five innings of work.