MIDLAND, Mich. – Webster Rivas hit the third pitch of the bottom of the ninth inning deep into the Michigan night for a walk-off home run Tuesday at Dow Diamond, giving the Great Lakes Loons a 5-4 win over the Fort Wayne TinCaps. The loss was the 10th straight for the TinCaps, which ties a franchise record.
Rivas’s sixth career home run came on a 2-0 pitch from Fort Wayne (5-13, 35-52) closer Nick Mutz (1-5), who had entered the game after a furious two-out rally in the top of the ninth by the TinCaps offense. Rey Bruguera delivered an RBI single to make a 4-1 game just a two-run contest, and Josh VanMeter hit a two-run single to right-center field, tying the game against the near-flawless Mark Pope.
The Great Lakes (8-9. 43-45) righthander, a former Padres farmhand, had given up just two earned runs in 34 innings on the season, but Fort Wayne notched four hits against him in two-thirds of an inning and denied him a save. Pope departed in favor of Victor Araujo (4-1), who struck out Ronnie Richardson to send the tie game to the bottom of the ninth inning.
Prior to the late scoring frenzy, Fort Wayne had trailed the entire game. Starter Ronald Herrera went five innings, allowing three runs on five hits, while walking one and striking out two. His offense managed five hits over six innings against Loons starter Brandon Martinez. The lone run scored against Martinez came on a Fernando Perez fifth-inning sacrifice fly. In his return from the disabled list, and playing in his first game since June 24th, Perez, who was the designated hitter, went 1-for-3.
Josh Richardson worked two innings and allowed one run, while Loons reliever Jacob Rhame twirled scoreless seventh and eighth innings.
With their 10th straight defeat, the TinCaps have now matched the mark set by the 1995 Fort Wayne Wizards, a team that lost each game it played from May 13-23 under manager Dan Rohn.
Game two of the three-game series is scheduled for Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. Fort Wayne is set to send lefty Jeffery Enloe to the hill against Loons righthander Scott Barlow. The game can be heard on ESPN Radio 1380 and TinCaps.com.