CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Fort Wayne’s four-game winning streak came to an end Saturday night at Cedar Rapids in a 4-3 setback against the Kernels. Jake Bauers and Nick Schulz both belted solo home runs for the TinCaps in a losing effort.
Kyle Lloyd, who last Saturday became the first Fort Wayne pitcher since 2003 to strike out 13 batters in a game, was highly effective for the TinCaps again for five innings. Consistently getting ahead in counts with his fastball, Lloyd then baffled Cedar Rapids batters with his splitter. The right-hander struck out six Kernels hitters during the first trip through the order, including the side in the first. All six strike-threes were on swings and misses of Lloyd’s splitter, which looks like a fastball until it dives into the dirt.
Cedar Rapids (15-13, 46-52), though, had an impressive starter of its own. Lewis Thrope, an 18-year-old from Australia who’s ranked the No. 6 prospect in the Minnestoa Twins organization, kept the TinCaps off the board for the first three innings.
Bauers broke the scoreless tie in the top of the fouth inning with a leadoff solo home run to left field. The opposite field homer was his seventh of the season.
In the bottom of the fourth, right-handed batting Chad Christenson gave the Kernels their first hit of the game against Lloyd with a one-out triple to right field. The next batter, Mitch Garver, scored Christenson on a groundout to third base to tie the game, 1-1.
Fort Wayne went back in front in the top of the fifth when Schulz, like Bauers, led off with a longball. It was Schulz’s first of the season with the TinCaps since he debuted on June 27.
The TinCaps carried the 2-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth. That’s when Cedar Rapids rallied against Lloyd for three runs. Number nine hitter Tanner Vavra walked to begin the frame. Then Engelb Vielma reached first base on a bunt single. Things took a turn for the worst for Fort Wayne after that. Logan Wade put down a bunt that Lloyd fielded but misfired throwing to first. Vavra scored on the play to tie the game, while Vielma dashed for third and Wade made it to second. After Lloyd struck out Christensen, Garver singled to give the Kernels a 3-2 lead, as Vielma scored. Bryan Haar followed with an RBI single of his own to plate Wade. Lloyd (3-4) left after that with eight strikeouts, but also with the TinCaps behind 4-2.
Attempting to come back in the eighth, Rey Bruguera, Josh VanMeter, and Trea Turner all singled with two outs for the TinCaps. Turner’s single scored Bruguera to bring Fort Wayne within a run, 4-3. But the TinCaps couldn’t find a tying run.
Chris Mazza (2-2) picked up the win out of the bullpen with 2 1/3 innings of one-run work. Nick Burdi registered the save (2).
Fort Wayne returns to Cedar Rapids Sunday afternoon for the middle game of their three-game set at 3:05. Jeffery Enloe is slated to start for the TinCaps against Ryan Eades. The game can be heard on ESPN Radio 1380, TinCaps.com, and the TuneIn Radio app.