Ruiz Shines Behind Plate But TinCaps Drop Opener

PEORIA, Ill. – For only the second time in their last 10 games, the first-place TinCaps lost on Friday night at Peoria, 2-0, at Dozer Park.

Catcher Jose Ruiz shined for the TinCaps in the loss. The 20-year-old from Venezuela threw out five Chiefs runners attempting to steal second base. Ruiz also singled and in the third inning reached on a walk — the first issued by Peoria starter Matt Pearce in a Midwest League record 54 1/3 innings since June 8.

Fort Wayne (Padres, 24-17, 56-53) didn’t do much else against the 21-year-old Floridian, who went 6 1/3 innings. Pearce (W, 8-9) scattered six hits and two walks.

The TinCaps’ best chance to score came in the top of the first when second baseman Luis Urias singled, reached second on an error, and tagged to third on a flyout. But with one out, shortstop Ruddy Giron hit a hard grounder to third that was fielded by Peoria’s Pal DeJong, who tagged Urias out.

Meanwhile, Dinelson Lamet (L, 3-6) shut out the Chiefs for five innings. In the sixth, though, he was lifted after two of the first three hitters in the frame reached on a hit by pitch and a walk. T.J. Weir came in out of the bullpen and recorded a strikeout, but with two outs, Nick Thompson hit a double off the third-base bag that scored DeJong for the game’s first run.

Peoria (Cardinals, 28-13, 61-48) added an unearned run in the seventh. Cody Schumacher (H, 3) and Kyle Grana (S, 18) kept Fort Wayne off the scoreboard for the final 2 2/3 innings.

In the bottom of the first inning, Ruiz threw out three runners at second. On the season, he’s caught 44 attempted base-stealers — eight more than any other catcher in the league. Peoria ranks second in the circuit with 136 stolen bases on the year. The league’s leader in stolen bases, Oscar Mercado, was thrown out twice.

The TinCaps return to Dozer Park on Saturday night at 7:30 for the middle game of this series. Right-hander Ernesto Montas (9-6, 3.28) is set to go against lefty Ian McKinney (MWL debut). The game can be heard on ESPN Radio 1380, TinCaps.com, and the TuneIn Radio app.

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