A groundout never looked so good.
Jose De Leon turned in a remarkable performance, striking out 14 of the 18 TinCaps batters he faced Tuesday, en route to a 5-1 victory for the Great Lakes Loons at Parkview Field.
But it was a groundout by Fort Wayne’s Dustin Peterson in the fourth inning that kept De Leon from at least a share of a Midwest League record.
With the Loons up 1-0, Peterson’s groundout to the third baseman snapped a string of nine consecutive strikeouts by De Leon, who came up one short of the mark for consecutive Ks.
Art Groza of Burlington had 10 straight against Dubuque in 1966, then Dayton’s Daniel Renken repeated the feat against Lansing in 2011.
De Leon went six innings, giving up four hits and walking none.
Amazingly, it was only De Leon’s second game at the Single-A level – he had seven strikeouts and gave up three hits and one run in his debut, a victory over Bowling Green – since being called up from the Pioneer League.
De Leon, 22, was a 24th-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013. Of the 85 pitches he threw Tuesday, a whopping 64 were for strikes.
In the entire game, the TinCaps struck out 17 times, short of the team record of 18, which came against South Bend in an 12-inning game in 2010.
In the fifth, Great Lakes increased its lead to 3-0, when Joey Curletta followed a Brandon Trinkwon triple with a home run that lined just over the leftfield wall. Paul Hoenecke then made it 4-0 after Peterson followed a great sliding grab at third base with a throwing error that sailed over the first baseman’s head and into the stands.
His team down 5-0 in the ninth, Peterson had an RBI double for the TinCaps.
On a night that began with a 53-minute rain delay, the crowd of 3,369 at Parkview Field didn’t have much to cheer about.
Notes: During the game Wednesday against Great Lakes, there will be a “Keeping Men Healthy” event in which men who get a PSA blood screening in the Lincoln Financial Event Center at Parkview Field, will get two tickets for a future TinCaps game. The testing, as well as blood-pressure readings, glucose checks, height/weight/BMI checks and skin screenings, can also be done Thursday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.