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TinCaps

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    Randy Smith, vice president of player development for the San Diego Padres, sat in the office of TinCaps manager Michael Collins before Fort Wayne’s playoff opener and ruminated on the clubs’ 16-year partnership.
  • Breaking down the TinCaps
    The TinCaps went 63-76 in 2014 but won a round in the postseason before bowing out Sunday in the Eastern Divison championship series.
  • Captains eliminate TinCaps
    The long faces said it all.The TinCaps’ chase for a second Midwest League championship came to a halt Sunday night as Lake County sent them home for the winter with a 5-4 loss in Game 2 to wrap up the Eastern Division Championship
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East finals
Fort Wayne vs. Lake County
Best of 3
Game 1: Fort Wayne 4, Lake County 3
Game 2: 6 p.m. today at Lake County
Game 3: 7 p.m. Monday at Lake County
Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
TinCaps starter Frank Garces pitched six strong innings but did not figure in the outcome.

Efficient TinCaps jump ahead in series

– Fort Wayne didn’t have many hits in Game 1 of the Midwest League Eastern Division Championship series Saturday against Lake County.

But the TinCaps made the most of them.

Travis Jankowski scored the go-ahead run on an eighth-inning single by Yeison Asencio as the TinCaps topped the Captains 4-3 in front of 2,310 fans at Parkview Field.

“Just like the last series, the first game is the most important,” Jankowski said.

Game 2 of the best-of-three series is today at Classic Park in Eastlake, Ohio.

Fort Wayne and Lake County each had five hits.

Three of Fort Wayne’s hits came in the three-run first inning. The two others came during the eighth, when it pulled ahead for good.

The Captains had retired 15 of 16 batters when Jankowski came to bat leading off the eighth with the game tied at 3. The lefty doubled to center.

“I was just trying to get on base. I fell behind 0-1 with a fastball away. He threw a curveball away and I just put my hands out there, put it over the shortstop’s head and legged out a double,” Jankowski said.

Jace Peterson moved him to third with a bunt, and Asencio followed with a single up the middle to give the TinCaps a 4-3 lead.

Asencio was 2 for 4 with two RBI.

“I told him to continue to be aggressive,” Fort Wayne manager Jose Valentin said of Asencio. “Lately he’s been kind of shy. I’ve never seen him take so many pitches. I talked to him and said ‘You won the batting title in this league for a reason, because you can hit.’ Today he got two big hits.”

Fort Wayne starting pitcher Frank Garces gave up two runs on four hits in six innings. He left with a 3-2 lead.

Lake County tied the game with a solo home run by Francisco Lindor off Johnny Barbato in the eighth inning.

Brandon Alger, who went to Leo and Indiana Tech, was the winning pitcher after striking out the final two batters of the eighth. He became eligible for the victory after Asencio put the team ahead in the bottom of the inning.

“I just want to get ahead and work away and low. I’m not trying to get strikeouts,” Alger said.

Matt Stites struck out the side in the ninth for his third save of the postseason.

“It’s everything to get that first win at home,” Alger said, “and then we just have to take one of two on the road. It’s a great start.”

lpope@jg.net

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