TinCaps Earn Clutch 6-4 Win Over Whitecaps

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – With four games remaining in the regular season, the TinCaps are tied for the Midwest League Eastern Division wild card. How? Good question. But Fort Wayne continued its improbable playoff quest on Thursday night with a 6-4 win over first-place West Michigan at Parkview Field in front of an electric crowd of 6,664 fans.
Ronnie Richardson propelled the TinCaps to victory with a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning. If that wasn’t big enough in itself, it came against Luke Putkonen (0-1), a Detroit Tigers reliever making a Major League Rehab Assignment. Richardson pulled a 1-0 pitch into the XFINITY Home Run Porch in left field.
The Bartow, Fla., native’s grand slam scored Nick Schulz, who singled, as well as Rey Bruguera and Trea Turner, who both walked. While Bruguera’s walk came on four pitchers, Turner battled against the big leaguer and saw ball four on the 11th pitch of his at-bat.
Nick Mutz pitched a perfect eighth inning of relief and Ryan Butler struck out the side in the ninth for his ninth save.
Fort Wayne (30-36, 60-75) found itself in need of a comeback despite scoring first. Fernando Perez hit a solo home run off Kevin Ziomek in the first inning. It was not only his team-leading 18th home run of the season, but a historic swing for the 20-year-old from Encindo, Mexico, as it accounted for his 92nd RBI of the season — a new franchise record going back to 1993 (the same year Perez was born). Perez passed current San Diego Padres outfielder Will Venable, who drove in 91 runs in 2006 with the Wizards.
West Michigan (39-27, 80-56) would score the next three runs of the game to go up 3-1. Domingo Leyba plated two with a double in the fifth and one on a Jeff Holm sixth-inning single. The TinCaps answered with a Jake Bauers RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to make it 3-2, only to see the Whitecaps respond with an unearned run in the top of the seventh.
Jason Jester (2-1) was the winning pitcher with two innings of relief without allowing an earned run. Starting pitcher Jimmi Brasoban went the first five.
Elsewhere in the division, Dayton, Great Lakes, and Bowling Green all lost. The TinCaps enter Friday tied with the Dragons atop the wild card race.
Fort Wayne goes for a sweep of West Michigan, and its fourth win in a row, at Parkview Field on Friday — Fan Appreciation Night — at 7:05. The TinCaps are set to start Cody Hebner against Chad Green. The game can be heard on WOWO 1190 AM and 92.3 FM, as well as TinCaps.com and the TuneIn Radio app. The final regular season home contest of the year also can be seen on XFINITY Channel 81 throughout Indiana.

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