Fort Wayne, Indiana
One night after season highs for hits and runs scored in a game, the TinCaps’ offense cooled off considerably, dropping the series finale to the Lansing Lugnuts 4-2.
Monday’s game began as a pitcher’s duel, with starters for both teams facing the minimum of nine batters in the first three innings and each allowing only two hits through five innings.
In the top of the sixth, the Lugnuts broke the scoreless tie after Mason Thompson gave up a leadoff single followed by a walk. With two men on and no outs, manager Anthony Contreras brought in left-hander Ben Sheckler from the bullpen. Brock Lundquist grounded out to second, moving the runners to second and third. Samad Taylor followed with a single to score the first run of the game. With runners at the corners, Yeltsin Gudiño bunted back to the mound, and although Sheckler appeared to have a play at home, he threw to first, getting the out but allowing a second run to score. Taylor was caught stealing third to end the inning.
Facing Evan Miller in the top of the eighth, the Lugnuts added two more runs, the first of which came on the second of back-to-back doubles by Lundquist and Taylor. Gudiño followed with a single, but a laser throw from right fielder Tirso Ornelas to catcher Jalen Washington caught Taylor trying to score. Norberto Obeso followed with the Lugnuts’ fourth consecutive hit, a single to center, to bring in Gudiño for a 4-0 lead.
The TinCaps mustered a rally in the bottom of the ninth, but it was not enough to overcome the deficit. Esteury Ruiz led off short grounder to third, advancing to second on a throwing error. Ornelas followed with a line drive that just escaped the glove of shortstop Vicuña. Following a strikeout to Luis Campusano, Justin Lopez drew a walk to load the bases. Luis Almanzar hit a sacrifice to right field to bring in Ruiz, and Nick Feight singled, scoring Ornelas to bring the winning run to the plate with two outs. Washington produced a hard-hit grounder that was just nabbed by Taylor, who threw to second for the force, ending the game.
Lugnuts starter Cotton Laws and middle reliever Emerson Jimenez curtailed offensive production through most of the game.
Prior to the ninth inning, the TinCaps’ lineup managed only three hits and moved only one runner to scoring position. Even in cases where the TinCaps reached base through a fielding error or hit batsman, both pitchers quickly reasserted control, retiring the remainder of the side to snuff out any threats.
The TinCaps head out of town on Tuesday for a 3-game set against the first-place Bowling Green Hot Rods.
Game Notes: Announced attendance was 5,455, moving the total season attendance just above 150,000.
Mason Thompson’s final line for the night was two runs on three hits over five innings of work, with two walks and three K’s.
Ornelas had the only multiple hit game, going 2-for-4 with two base hits.