FORT WAYNE – On Circus Night at Parkview Field, visiting Peoria provided a display worthy of the Ringling Brothers.
A muffed ground ball here, an airmailed throw there, and the TinCaps were easily on their way to their first winning streak of the season.
The TinCaps (6-8) capitalized on six Peoria errors – four in the second inning, and two on a single play – for a 9-4 victory on Friday.
The Chiefs, seemingly demoralized early, also threw two wild pitches and hit a batter.
You’ve seen it with us, as well, TinCaps manager Michael Collins said. Errors become contagious. In professional baseball you need to be mentally tough enough to move on, but at some point with all young players that creeps into the back of your mind. You start to get a little defensive.
Having given up 14 unearned runs, third-most in the Midwest League, the TinCaps were pleased to score a few of their own.
They needed just one hit to score three unearned runs in that bizarre second inning, which included a pitch spiked into the grass around the mound by Chiefs starter Silfredo Garcia.
It set the tone for the rest of the night, one that saw starter Coby Cowgill make a successful season debut and the TinCaps inch closer to .500.
Ahead of today’s finale with Peoria, the TinCaps clinched their first series victory of the year.
With a seven-game road trip looming next week, they might be building needed momentum.
Confidence, confidence, Collins said. It’s a boost. Our young players are going through learning experiences in this league for the first time. Getting off to a slow start and losing a few games didn’t help that.
Instead of elephants and acrobats, the Chiefs’ fielding woes served as the most fitting part of the day’s promotional theme.
After a strikeout opened the home half of the second, Dane Phillips doubled and scored one batter later when a routine grounder went under the arm of Peoria’s Jake Stone.
Franchy Cordero stole second base as Garcia bounced his embarrassing delivery. Cordero shortly after advanced to third on a wild pitch.
The TinCaps’ Juan Carlos Urena struck out swinging at another wild pitch, but he reached first and advanced to second on an errant throw by catcher Steve Bean. Cordero scored to make it 2-0.
After a strikeout, Urena scored on a botched grounder by the Chiefs’ Mason Katz, who compounded the miscue with a bad throw. Mallex Smith, who hit the ball, scampered to second.
I’m always looking to take the extra base, Smith said. When they’re making mistakes, it’s my job to capitalize.
All the clown costumes only added to the Barnum and Bailey atmosphere.
I liked them a lot, Smith said. It’s something for the fans. We’re playing good. It’s nice for a change of scenery.