FORT WAYNE – Jose Carlos Urena diligently balanced a plate of rice in his hands when shoved playfully by teammate Franmil Reyes.
The TinCaps’ left fielder had no hope of eating at his locker in peace after his first feel-good moment.
Urena, batting a team-worst .160, was 0 for 4 with a walk on Tuesday night but provided the heroics in the 10th inning.
His bases-loaded, one-out grounder scored Reyes, who had tripled leading off, to give the TinCaps a 7-6 victory over Great Lakes after they blew a ninth-inning lead.
I just tried to put the ball in there, Urena said. It feels pretty good. I am very happy with that.
The 19-year-old hit a slow roller to Loons shortstop Dillon Moyer, whose throw home was late and off line.
Urena was then mobbed by teammates on the infield.
He was looking to do something in a big situation like that, TinCaps manager Michael Collins said. At every point, you look at someone who snaps out of a skid, and it can probably come back to a good at-bat here, a good play there or something that clicks. I hope that was the one and we see good things to come.
The TinCaps (10-14) were coming off a stretch in which they had lost six of eight.
Great Lakes (14-11) took advantage of Franchy Cordero’s throwing error on Moyer’s leadoff grounder to tie it in the ninth. Moyer reached second when Cordero’s routine throw sailed over first baseman Jake Bauers and into the dugout.
Paul Hoenecke’s two-out RBI single tied it at 6. The TinCaps went to extra innings for the sixth time.
Other than Urena, the contributions came from more likely sources.
Reyes finished 4 for 5 and crushed a line drive deep into the seats in left field to pull the TinCaps to 2-1 in the second.
He has four home runs and raised his average to .302.
He’s got an exciting bat, Collins said. That’s a good description right there. He’s got the ability to put the barrel on the ball. We saw it jump tonight.
Reyes found the gap in right-center in the 10th when he saw a fastball a little off the plate.
When I turned first and was on my way to second, I saw the outfielder still picking up the ball, Reyes said. I said to myself, I can hustle and take the third base.’
A little out of breath, he made it.
Great Lakes then intentionally walked Fernando Perez and Dane Phillips to load the bases in an attempt to set up a force play.
They were playing the percentages, Collins said.
After Jake Bauers struck out swinging, Urena made sure the TinCaps did not waste a golden opportunity for their second walk-off victory.
They overcame five errors to prevail in a tense contest.
Hopefully, the defense will do enough and we’ll have more comfortable games, Collins said. The offense did well. The pitching did well. We’ll take the positives.