FORT WAYNE – The day before, they kicked a sprinkler head and then kicked the bucket, a literal geyser in the bullpen morphing into a figurative gusher as the TinCaps were swamped by 15 Great Lakes runs.
Thursday night, it was the TinCaps’ turn to open the spigot.
Mallex Smith opened the game with a bloop single to center, and the TinCaps’ sticks kept the drumbeat going, raking three Great Lakes pitchers for 18 hits as they salvaged a split of the four-game series with a 13-4 win in front of 3,107 fans at Parkview Field.
The TinCaps (11-15) scored at least a run in each of the first five innings, building leads of 7-1 and 9-3 before finishing it with a four-run eighth. Eight TinCaps had at least one hit and seven had two or more.
Yeah, tough loss yesterday, said shortstop Josh VanMeter, who went 2 for 5, scored a run and drove one in. We just kind of came back today and kind of cleared our minds.
That pitcher that started (Jonathan Martinez), he kind of diced us up the first couple times we saw him, and I thought we just came out in attack mode and that showed. We got nine hits off him and ended up with 18, so we were pretty locked in at the plate.
Most locked in were Fernando Perez, who went 3 for 5 with three RBI and two runs scored; Jake Bauers, who was 3 for 4, scored a run and drove in another; and catcher Ryan Miller, who was 3 for 5 and scored three runs. He also threw out three Loons baserunners at second and picked off another at third.
Very pleased, TinCaps manager Michael Collins said. Got hits in just about every inning, scored in every inning but two, I think. I was very pleased to see that, one through nine, we got good quality at-bats.
Great Lakes (15-12) got a run in the first when Malcolm Holland greeted TinCaps starter Coby Cowgill with a triple and came home on Jacob Scavuzzo’s groundout. The TinCaps countered in their half, Smith leading off with a soft single to center, and Perez lashing a two-out single to center to chase him home.
The TinCaps added two in their half of the second, VanMeter and Miller leading off with back-to-back singles and Henry Charles cleaning them off the bases with a one-out, two-run double. They added another in the third when Perez smoked a one-out double and came home on Dane Phillips’ double, and tacked on three more in the fourth on Miller’s leadoff double, Bauers’ RBI single, two walks and Franmil Reyes’ two-run single.
The TinCaps added two more in fourth to push the lead to 9-3, then turned two errors, a hit batsmen, a balk and three hits into the final four runs in the eighth.
Hitting is contagious, VanMeter said. You see the guy in front of you getting a hit, you think, man, I’ve got to get a hit, too.
Notes: The TinCaps transferred infielder Franchy Cordero, outfielder Jose Carlos and pitcher Justin Livengood to Eugene. Infielder Chase Jensen and catcher Adolfo Reina came to Fort Wayne from extended spring training. Pitcher Tony Rizzotti was transferred from Eugene to the TinCaps.