Photo by Ken Bugajski / EVTimes

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Mason Thompson pitches in his first appearance since July 18. Photo by Ken Bugajski / EVTimes

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Starter Mason Thompson excelled in his return from the disabled list, and the TinCaps’ offense produced a 3-0 lead after three innings. In the later innings, the bullpen and defense diffused enough threats to take a 3-2 victory.

In his first appearance since July 18, Thompson looked sharp from the start, as he struck out two in the first inning, including a three-pitch K to the first batter he faced.

Overall, Thompson retired twelve of thirteen batters over four innings. With two outs in the first, Kody Clemens doubled to right-center, but he was the only hitter Thompson allowed on base. After Clemens, Thompson retired the next ten batters for a final line of no runs, one hit, three strikeouts, and no walks.

Complementing Thompson’s pitching, the offense took a 1-0 lead in the first, beginning the inning with two singles from Jeisson Rosario and Olivier Basabe to put runners on the corners. The third batter in the lineup, Owen Miller, hit a deep sacrifice fly to center to bring home Rosario.

Basabe later stole second and advanced to third on the catcher’s throwing error, but then left the game with an apparent injury. Jack Suwinski subbed in for Basabe, but the TinCaps could not bring him home.

Olivier Basabe singles in the botoom of the first while Jeisson Rosario breaks for second. Photo by Ken Bugajski / EVTimes

In the third inning, Rosario again led off the inning with a single, catching the Whitecaps off guard with a short bunt down the third-base line, decisively beating the throw. Suwinski, batting second in place of Basabe, then cranked a rainbow that easily cleared the right-field wall. The homer was his eighth of the season, second on the team after Esteury Ruiz’s eleven.

After the third inning, however, the TinCaps’ bats cooled considerably, as the team had no hits from the fourth inning to the end of the game. The team put only three runners on base (a walk, fielder’s choice, and a hit-by-pitch) during the last five at-bats, and none of them made it to scoring position. Whitecaps’ reliever Ethan DeCaster was particularly effective, striking out seven of nine batters, including the last five he faced.

Once Thompson left the game after the fourth, the bullpen struggled to keep the Whitecaps off the basepaths. In each at-bat from the sixth to the ninth inning, the Whitecaps had runners in scoring position, and they scored twice. Facing reliever Jose Quezada, Joey Morgan led off the sixth with a triple, and eventually scored on Anthony Pereira’s sacrifice fly. The Whitecaps added another run in the seventh. With runners on first and second, Colby Bortles grounded to short for what could have been an inning-ending double play. Ruiz misfired on the throw to first, however, sending the ball into the dugout and allowing the lead runner to come home and bring the Whitecaps to within one run at 3-2.

Jack Suwinski fouls off in the seventh inning. Photo by Ken Bugajski / EVTimes

The Whitecaps also threatened in their last two at-bats. With two on and two out in the eighth, Sexton caught Brock Detherage looking to end the inning. In the ninth, with runners on second and third, Chris Proctor hit a sharp grounder to the right side of the field. A diving grab by Nick Feight kept the ball in the infield, and a quick toss to closer Evan Miller ended the game.

The TinCaps conclude the series with the Whitecaps on Tuesday evening. MacKenzie Gore is expected to start.

Game Notes:

Announced attendance was 4,655.

Since a day off last Tuesday, the TinCaps have won four of their last six.

With the victory tonight, the TinCaps are currently in position for the second-half wild card, and only a game behind the Whitecaps for the first playoff spot.

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