Fort Wayne, Indiana
In his TinCaps debut, starter Osvaldo Hernandez struck out five, but otherwise struggled.
On the other side of the ball, the Great Lakes Loons’ Dustin May turned in a masterful performance, limiting the TinCaps to five hits over eight innings, leading to a 5-3 Loons victory.
Hernandez started quick out of the gate, retiring the first three Loons batters with only seven pitches in the first inning. In the second inning, however, Connor Wong tagged Hernandez for a home run just over the 400 feet marker in dead center field; it was Wong’s third HR of the series.
The top of the third was more problematic, as Hernandez walked lead-off batter Nick Yarnall. Moises Perez hit into a fielder’s choice and replaced Yarnall at first. Perez stole second and advanced to third on a balk. Tyler Adkison hit a short sacrifice fly to center, scoring Perez when Buddy Reed’s throw was not on target. Gavin Lux then hit a grounder to first baseman G. K. Young, but Hernandez did not reach first base in time to get the throw from Young for the out. With Jeren Kendall batting, Lux stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and then scored on an infield single by Kendall, giving the Loons a 3-1 lead.
Hernandez held the Loons in check in the fourth and fifth, but gave up a one-out walk to Cody Thomas in the top of the sixth, after which manager Anthony Contreras brought in Jordan Guerrero from the bullpen. Before retiring the side, Guerrero gave up two consecutive hits, including a ground-rule double to Wong, that brought in two more runs and increased the Loons’ lead to 5-1. Hernandez’ final line was 5.1 innings pitched, five hits, four earned runs, five Ks, and three walks.
The Loons’ May, who started the Midwest League All-Star game in June, kept the TinCaps’ bats in check, particularly early in the game, where he faced 17 batters over the first five innings, giving up only two hits and a walk. In the bottom of the first, Hudson Potts got the first hit with a two-out home run shot to left field. For Potts, who was named Midwest League Player of the Week on Monday, it was his third home run in eight days.
Nate Easley provided another bright spot for the TinCaps offense, extending his on-base streak to 24 games with a single in the fourth. Easley followed that at-bat with a home run to left field in the sixth inning to bring the score to 5-2.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Loons brought in reliever Ryan Moseley, who walked Reinaldo Ilarraza and Potts to bring the tying run to the plate with no outs. Catcher Kyle Overstreet hit into a fielder’s choice, forcing out Ilarraza at third, but beating an errant throw to first, which also allowed Potts to advance to third. With runners on the corners, Young hit a sacrifice fly to center to bring in Potts. With a runner on first and two outs, Jack Suwinski again represented the potential tying run, but he struck out to end the game.
With the defeat, the TinCaps have now lost three in a row. The team now heads out on a seven-day road trip with the first stop at the Lake County Captains Tuesday night.
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.