The TinCaps battled their way back from a seven-run deficit tonight. Just not all the way back in a 8-5 loss to the Lake County Captains at Parkview Field.
In one of the more exciting games of the season, the TinCaps came back from an eight-run deficit to defeat Lake County 12-11 on Thursday night. In that game, Fort Wayne was aided by Fernando Perez’s grand slam and got a game-winning single in the 10th from Trea Turner.
Tonight, the TinCaps (52-64, 22-25 in second half) dug themselves another hole, falling behind seven runs in the top of the first, which took more than 20 minutes as Fort Wayne’s starting pitcher, Cody Hebner, threw 47 pitches and allowed four hits. Grant Fink highlighted the surge for Lake County with a grand slam that barely cleared the left-field wall and made it 7-0 in front of 7,701 fans.
Hebner struck out the next batter, Ivan Castillo, for the third out and was then replaced by Justin Livengood, but not before Perez’s home run to right-field in the bottom of the first.
In the fifth, the Captains (49-67, 22-24) returned to a seven-run lead when Eric Haase’s RBI single scored Mike Papi, who was the Cleveland Indians’ first-round pick (38th overall) in this year’s draft.
But the TinCaps answered in the bottom of the inning when Ronnie Richardson scored on a balk by Caleb Hamrick with Perez at the plate, but then Fort Wayne stranded two runners when Perez grounded out to first base.
In the seventh, Josh VanMeter’s RBI single off Hamrick got another rally going and, after the Captains put in pitcher Justin Brantley, Perez’s two-RBI single cut the lead to 8-5.
Livengood went four innings, giving up one run and four hits, while striking out two and walking one for Fort Wayne. Lake County’s starter, Anderson Polanco, went four innings, too, giving up one run and two hits, while striking out two and walking one before making way for Hamrick.
Fort Wayne came into the night tied for the last playoff spot in the Midwest League’s Eastern Division with Great Lakes; both teams were a half game back of Dayton.
Notes: TinCaps catcher Adolfo Reina, who injured his elbow making a tag at home plate in Monday’s 4-3 victory over Lansing, was placed on the disabled list. Taking his spot was catcher John Nester, who was transferred from Advanced-A Lake Elsinore, where he batted .211 with one home run and nine RBI in 36 games there.