Ronnie Richardson whacked a go-ahead grand slam in the seventh inning, and the TinCaps rallied past West Michigan 6-4 on Thursday night at Parkview Field.
Trea Turner worked an 11-pitch walk to load the bases with one out. Richardson followed with his fourth home run off Detroit Tigers reliever Luke Putkonen, who is on an injury rehabilitation assignment.
As the 1-0 pitch landed in the seats in left field, the crowd roared in appreciation, perhaps recognizing the importance of that swing to Fort Wayne’s playoff chase.
The TinCaps (59-75, 30-36 second half) moved into a tie with Dayton for the Eastern Division wild card, though Dayton owns the tiebreaker. The victory, combined with losses by Great Lakes and Bowling Green, puts the TinCaps directly behind Dayton in the standings.
TinCaps slugger Fernando Perez homered in the first, raising his RBI total to a franchise-record 92. Current big leaguer Will Venable drove in 91 runs in 2006.
TinCaps starter Jimmi Brasoban pitched five innings but walked off the mound in the sixth trailing 2-1. Jason Jester relieved and gave up an RBI single to Jeff Holm.
After Jake Bauers hit an RBI single in bottom of the sixth, West Michigan pushed ahead 4-2 by scoring on Dustin Peterson’s error in the seventh.
Nick Mutz held the lead in the eighth and closer Ryan Butler touched 100 mph several times to strike out all three batters he faced for his ninth save.
The TinCaps have taken the first two matchups of a three-game series with the first-place Whitecaps (80-56, 39-27). The finale is Friday at Parkview Field in the TinCaps’ last home game of the season.
For more on this story return to the "Full Count" blog later, go to www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m. or see Friday's Journal Gazette.