FORT WAYNE – Coby Cowgill came off the disabled list and out of the bullpen with a sharp curveball that darted down in the strike zone.
The one curve that didn’t follow Cowgill’s wishes cost the TinCaps the game Wednesday at Parkview Field.
No. 8 hitter Jason Leblebijian scorched an eighth-inning liner past River Stevens at third base to give Lansing a 4-3 win, its second in a three-game series that concludes today.
Leblebijian’s double spoiled what otherwise were three encouraging innings from Cowgill, who hadn’t pitched since May 26. It was Cowgill’s first relief appearance of the season.
Outstanding, really, TinCaps manager Michael Collins said. I thought it was great. He mixed pitches. He looked comfortable and in control. You give up the double, it’s part of the game.
Stevens, who started at third for the first time as a TinCap, said his previous experience taught him the ball comes at you quicker when playing the hot corner.
That was certainly the case on Leblebijian’s game-winning hit, which came with two out.
The only way he snares that is if coincidentally he’s standing right where he hit it, Collins said. He wasn’t on the line or over. He was kind of right in the middle, no man’s land.
The Lugnuts (31-34) were better early, scoring twice in the second and once in the third for a 3-1 lead. Right-hander Chase De Jong allowed only one run on a wild pitch through four innings.
The TinCaps (28-37) put together their only rally in the fifth to tie it. Ronnie Richardson hit a two-strike homer, his first, to the seats in left.
I put a good swing on it, Richardson said. Change-up. Kept my hands back. It ended up good for me. I’ve been trying to grind out at-bats.
With two down, Dustin Peterson legged out an opposite-field triple, and Fernando Perez then chased De Jong with an RBI single off the wall in right.
But that was the extent of Fort Wayne’s attack, which consisted of 10 hits and no walks.
There’s going to be games where you score two, three or four, Collins said. We had 10 hits and probably didn’t string them together.
TinCaps first baseman Jake Bauers was 1 for 4 to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. Bauers is six shy of tying the 23-game, franchise-record streak put together by Sean Burroughs in 1999.
Adrian De Horta went 2 2/3 innings and gave up three runs on four hits and five walks. The TinCaps bullpen backed him up with solid relief until Cowgill (2-2) faltered.
Phil Kish (4-2) picked up the win with 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Note: TinCaps reliever Wilson Santos was sent to Eugene to clear a roster spot for Cowgill, who was reinstated before the game.