FORT WAYNE, Ind. — For a time on Sunday afternoon at Parkview Field, the sun was shining. For a time on Sunday afternoon at Parkview Field, the TinCaps held a four-run lead against the West Michigan Whitecaps. But time is fleeting, and by the time the final out was recorded on Sunday afternoon at Parkview Field, the sky was gray and Fort Wayne had lost, 7-6.
The TinCaps have lost nine consecutive games for the first time since August of 2007.
The turning point Sunday came with two outs in the top of the fifth inning. At that point, Fort Wayne (5-12, 35-51) led 5-1. There were two outs and Wynton Bernard was at first base. Kyle Lloyd had retired five of the last six batters he had faced. The only run against him was a solo home run to lead off the fourth by Jeff Holm. But then things went awry.
Javier Betancourt singled and Dominic Ficociello walked to load the bases. Holm singled to score Bernard and Betancourt. Fort Wayne’s lead was cut to 5-3. Eric Yardley (1-2) replaced Lloyd on the mound after that. Francisco Contreras proceeded to single to score Ficociello and Bennett Pickar plated Holm with a single to tie it, 5-5. The Whitecaps jumped in front when Willy Adames hit a grounder to third that Dustin Peterson threw wildly to first base, allowing Contreras to score the go-ahead run.
The five-run top of the fifth for West Michigan (11-6, 52-35) came on the heels of a four-run bottom of the fourth spurred by the bottom of Fort Wayne’s order. Number six hitter Ryan Miller hit a two-run homer to give the TinCaps a 3-1 lead. Miller now leads the Summit City squad with nine homers on the year. Then Nick Schulz tripled, Edwin Moreno doubled, and Rey Bruguera singled to expand the advantage to 5-1.
Fort Wayne had initially taken a 1-0 lead in the third with an unearned run. Both sides traded a run in the sixth. Montreal Robertson (4-4) earned the win out of the bullpen with a scoreless seventh and eighth. Zac Reininger had a no-hit ninth to notch his sixth save of the year.
After a day off on Monday, the TinCaps take to the road Tuesday to start a three-game series at Great Lakes. Ronald Herrera is slated to start for Fort Wayne against Brandon Martinez. The game can be heard on ESPN Radio 1380 and TinCaps.com.