FORT WAYNE – The largest loss in team history was met with a collective shrug.
After West Michigan pummeled the TinCaps 19-1, the TinCaps could not help but shake their heads and maintain afterward that it was another day at the office.
“It's baseball,” said third baseman Dustin Peterson, whose RBI single in the first inning was the high point Sunday at Parkview Field. “You're going to win. You're going to lose.
“We have another game tomorrow.”
This laugher came out of nowhere because Fort Wayne (25-31) had been soaring, going 8-2 to close May.
The Fort Wayne franchise had never lost by more than 16 runs, falling 20-4 at Michigan on May 18, 1996 (the record for most runs given up by a Fort Wayne team), 17-1 at home against Beloit on July 20, 1997, and 16-0 at South Bend on Aug. 2, 2012. The first two of those defeats came when they were the Wizards.
“It's probably a fact you hear and think, ‘Oh, geez, that's a surprise,' ” said TinCaps manager Michael Collins, who was ejected in the bottom of the first. “At 19-1, you don't see that too often. It's probably not a surprise when you see it written down.”
First baseman Jake Bauers said it was no big deal.
“I'm sure coming along these next few years there's probably going to be a worse one,” he said. “That's how it always is.”
The TinCaps' troubles began with two outs in the first, when Payton Baskette (1-2) gave up a pair of walks.
Jeff Holm followed with a two-run double. Baskette permitted six earned runs on five hits in three innings, the shortest outing of his season.
Baskette threw only 38 of his 73 pitches for strikes.
“I never felt comfortable,” he said. “That's really all I have. I go and walk two guys. From there I never felt myself.
“All those walks came back and got me. I was leaving the ball up. When I did throw a strike, it got hammered.”
Tony Rizzotti relieved Baskette and was charged with seven runs in two innings.
Rizzotti was followed by Wilson Santos, who allowed five runs on four hits in two innings.
The Whitecaps hit four home runs, including a three-run shot by Holm off Baskette in the third.
Rizzotti allowed two of the home runs and was part of a 13-batter sixth that saw West Michigan score nine times on four doubles, three walks, a single, a homer and a triple.
While the TinCaps struggled to get the Whitecaps out, West Michigan starter Jon Maciel coasted. He retired all but three hitters after the first. The TinCaps never came close to mounting a rally. Maciel pitched six innings, giving up five hits and striking out eight.
The Whitecaps (32-25) won in record fashion, their largest win coming weeks after their worst-ever defeat.
“We feel their pain,” Whitecaps manager Andrew Graham said. “We experienced that as well. It happens. They're going to bounce back.”
Note: TinCaps catcher/designated hitter Dane Phillips was promoted to Single-A Lake Elsinore. Outfielder Ronnie Richardson was reinstated from the disabled list.
An earlier online version of this story incorrectly said the team was known as the Wizards when they lost to South Bend 16-0 in 2012. By then, they were the TinCaps.