Franmil Reyes hit a game-winning sacrifice fly in the 10th inning, and the TinCaps overcame a blown save by Ryan Butler to knock off Great Lakes 3-2 on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series at Parkview Field.
The TinCaps (55-70, 25-31 second half) gained ground on the Loons (60-66, 26-30) in the Midwest League’s Eastern Division playoff race. They also moved within two games of Dayton for the wild-card spot.
The TinCaps improved to 9-7 in games that went to extra innings and enjoyed their eighth walk-off win.
After Nick Mutz pitched a scoreless 10th, the TinCaps loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom half. Reyes socked an 0-1 pitch to medium-deep left field, easily scoring the speedy Trea Turner.
A home run by Joey Curletta was the only hit TinCaps starter Yimmi Brasoban allowed in five innings. Jason Jester followed with two shutout frames, and Eric Yardley worked a 1-2-3 eighth on his 24th birthday.
But the Loons quickly put together a rally against Butler, who had been 8-for-8 in save opportunities as a professional. Following back-to-back hits that placed runners at first and third with one out, Josmar Cordero made solid contact on a long fly to center against Butler.
Great Lakes nearly went ahead when Leo Rodriguez followed with a double just fair past first base. Webster Rivas, who took off from first, ran through manager Bill Haselman’s stop sign and was thrown out at home by Reyes for the final out. Reyes has eight outfield assists.
The TinCaps scored twice in the third on an RBI grounder by Josh VanMeter and an RBI single by Fernando Perez.
Up next: The second game of this three-game series at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday pits Fort Wayne’s Cody Hebner (1-3, 2.93 ERA) against Great Lakes’ Jose De Leon (1-0, 1.50) in a matchup of righties.