LANSING, Mich. – The TinCaps excelled in all three facets of the game Tuesday night and it resulted in a 4-2 win on the road against the Lugnuts, 4-2. With the win, Fort Wayne gained ground in the Eastern Division playoff race.
Josh VanMeter gave the TinCaps a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning with an RBI single. After Lansing (21-29, 53-66) evened the game, 1-1, in the third, Henry Charles put Fort Wayne (23-27, 53-66) back in front with a solo home run to right field – his fifth longball of the season.
The Lugnuts tied the game, 2-2, in the ensuing half inning, but a Jake Bauers two-out double proved to be the game-winner for the TinCaps in the fifth. Ronnie Richardson added proverbial insurance with an opposite-field solo homer to right in the sixth. It was Richardson’s second homer this year.
Fort Wayne’s offensive success for the first five innings came against Starlyn Suriel (1-2). This was the same pitcher who limited the TinCaps to a single base runner over six innings last Wednesday at Parkview Field. Tuesday night, Fort Wayne had nine hits against Suriel alone and 12 in the game.
Starter Ronald Herrera (6-7) was the losing pitcher against Suriel last week. He wouldn’t be outdueled again. Like he did last time out, Herrera worked five innings and allowed only two runs.
The Fort Wayne bullpen was even better. Justin Livengood tossed two scoreless innings, while Eric Yardley twirled a perfect eighth, and Ryan Butler earned his seventh save in as many opportunities in the ninth. Radar guns behind home plate recorded Butler’s fastball at 100 miles per hour.
Defensively, Trea Turner made the play of the game at shortstop in the bottom of the seventh inning. Justin Atkinson hit a groundball up the middle that took an untrue hop off the lip of the infield by second base. Somehow, as he shuffled to his left, Turner managed to react instantaneously and fielded the bounce with his bare right hand. In one fluid motion, he then threw Atkinson out at first base.
Elsewhere in the division, Dayton’s game at Lake County was suspended because of rain and Great Lakes lost to Bowling Green. So entering Wednesday, the TinCaps trail Lake County by 2.0 games for the best record in the second half and Dayton by 1.5 games for the wild card. Great Lakes is 1.0 game ahead of Fort Wayne as well.
The TinCaps and Lugnuts play the middle game of their series Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. Jimmi Brasoban starts for Fort Wayne against left-hander Brent Powers. The game can be heard on ESPN Radio 1380, TinCaps.com, and the TuneIn Radio app.