MIDLAND, Mich. – On a warm but rainy evening in the Wolverine State, the Fort Wayne TinCaps dropped the opener of a four-game series, 6-4, to the Great Lakes Loons at Dow Diamond. Loons starter Jonathan Martinez dominated the TinCaps lineup, allowing four hits over seven innings, striking out five and did not issue a walk.
Great Lakes (11-6), which has now won seven out of eight, attacked Fort Wayne (7-9) starter Walker Weickel (1-3) for two first-inning runs. The right-hander, making his fourth start, retired the first two batters, but walked the next two. Rightfielder Joey Curletta singled home Kyle Farmer, the recipient of the first walk, and with Justin Chigbogu batting, the Loons executed a perfect double steal. Paul Hoenecke, who was at third, broke for home when Curletta darted for second. TinCaps catcher Ryan Miller threw to second, and the throw back to the plate was off-target, allowing Hoenecke to score the game’s second run.
Jonathan Martinez (3-1) retired the first six Fort Wayne hitters until Jose Carlos Urena picked up an infield single to lead off the third. Two batters later Henry Charles, playing in his first game since Wednesday, doubled to left and scored Urena, making it 2-1, Loons. Great Lakes answered right back against Weickel in the bottom of the third as Hoenecke picked up a two-out RBI double.
Martinez, who fanned 11 TinCaps on opening night on Parkview Field, retired 11 straight batters from the end of the third through the sixth inning. His night came to an end after a four-batter seventh inning.
Weickel gave way to Tony Rizzotti, who worked a 1-2-3 seventh, but crumbled in the eighth inning. Rizzotti, who had allowed at least two runs in each of his last four outings, ended up giving up three—although only one was earned. With the bases loaded and one out, Chigbogu hit a grounder to third that skipped between the legs of Dustin Peterson for an error, allowing two runs to score. Malcolm Holland later laid down a bases-loaded bunt to score another and make it 6-1 in favor of Great Lakes heading into the ninth.
The TinCaps did show life in the game’s final inning with back-to-back one-out singles from Franmil Reyes and Midwest League Player of the Week Fernando Perez, which led to a three-run home run by Jose Carlos Urena. It was his second home run of the year, and left the final at a two-run deficit.
Game two of the four-game set is scheduled for Tuesday evening at 6:05 p.m. The scheduled starters are Adrian De Horta for the TinCaps and Zachary Bird for the Loons. Radio coverage of the game begins at 5:45 on The Fan 1380 and TheFanFortWayne.com.