FORT WAYNE – The TinCaps set a season high in runs and blew out Lansing 17-6 on Friday night in a game that got heated at Parkview Field.
Lugnuts starter Matt Dermody hit Dustin Peterson in the back of the helmet in the third inning and was immediately ejected. Manager John Tamargo Jr. was tossed automatically and got into a verbal altercation with the TinCaps dugout as he and Dermody left the field.
Moments later the benches cleared as Fort Wayne’s Mallex Smith jawed face to face with Lansing hitting coach Ken Huckaby. No punches were thrown and no one else was ejected.
The background to all of that was TinCaps starter Erik Cabrera hitting Justin Atkinson around the helmet one pitch after L.B. Dantzler hit a three-run homer to draw Lansing within 6-5 in the top of the third. Cabrera was not ejected but plate umpire John Mang issued a warning to both sides.
The TinCaps (19-28) can complete a three-game sweep of Lansing (23-24) on Saturday.
For Fort Wayne, the contributions were all over the place. Peterson hit a three-run homer, Fernando Perez had three RBI singles, and Adolfo Reina had a two-run single and an RBI double.
Cabrera (1-3) went six innings and gave up five runs on five hits.
Dermody (2-1) had been shelled for nine runs on eight hits over 2 1/3 innings before drilling Peterson, which appeared to be in retaliation.
When Cabrera hit Atkinson, Atkinson was unable to stay in the game, as Peterson did. Cabrera’s wild delivery sailed near Atkinson’s helmet but Atkinson was able to deflect it with his hand. Atkinson was treated for a thumb injury.
Lansing melted down after the brush-up and finished with seven errors, three wild pitches and a passed ball. Four of Fort Wayne’s 17 runs scored directly from a wild pitch or error.