FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Things didn’t look good early on Monday night for the TinCaps, as they fell behind 4-0 to Wisconsin. However, Fort Wayne was determined not to let down the 7,144 fans in attendance and rallied to defeat the Timber Rattlers, 6-4. The victory in front of Parkview Field’s 18th sellout crowd of the season gave the TinCaps a 2-1 series win and a 4-2 homestand.
Wisconsin (55-50, 19-17) jumped in front with two outs in the top of the second inning when Jose Pena belted his eighth home run of the season, just over the wall in left-center field off Fort Wayne starting pitcher Jimmi Brasoban to gain a 1-0 lead.
The Timber Rattlers increased their advantage one inning later on a two-out double by Taylor Brennan to score both Paul Eshelman and Omar Garcia — who both singled — as well as Michael Ratterree, making the score 4-0 in favor of the visitors.
Showing resolve, Fort Wayne began its comeback against Wisconsin starting pitcher Preston Gainey in the bottom of the fourth inning. Trea Turner doubled down the left field line to start the inning, advanced to third base on a throwing error by the catcher Eshelman on a botched pick-off attempt, and then scored on a two-out single by Franmil Reyes to put the TinCaps on the scoreboard.
A single by Henry Charles in the bottom of the fifth inning drove in both Adolfo Reina and Ronnie Richardson, bringing Fort Wayne to within a run at 4-3.
The TinCaps would tie the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. Reyes walked with one out, advanced to third base on a single by Jake Bauers, and then scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Reina to knot the game at four runs apiece.
Fort Wayne (45-60, 15-21) took the lead for the first time in the bottom of the eighth inning, facing Timber Rattlers relief pitcher Seth Harvey (0-1). Turner collected his third hit of the night when he singled to left to begin the inning. He then stole second base. Dustin Peterson was hit by a pitch, putting runners on at first and second base. After Fernando Perez struck out, Reyes came to bat. On the 1-1 pitch to Reyes, Turner and Peterson successfully executed a double steal. Reyes was then walked intentionally to load the bases.
Bauers came through with a sacrifice fly to score Turner from third base to give Fort Wayne a 5-4 lead, and Reina followed with a double to score Peterson for an insurance run that gave the TinCaps a 6-4 advantage.
Justin Livengood (6-1) pitched two scoreless innings of relief before giving way to Ryan Butler in the ninth. Butler retired the side in order in the ninth, preserving the win, and in the process, collecting his fourth save in as many save opportunities.
With 34 games remaining in the season, the TinCaps are 2 1/2 games behind Lake County for the Eastern Division’s final postseason spot. Fort Wayne looks to keep pace in the playoff push on Tuesday at Great Lakes in the opener of a three-game series. Cody Hebner is scheduled to start for Fort Wayne against Greg Harris. The 7:05 game can be heard on ESPN Radio 1380, TinCaps.com, and the TuneIn Radio app.