FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The TinCaps lost to the Great Lakes Loons (Los Angeles Dodgers), 4-2, in 10 innings on Thursday night at Parkview Field, but afterward, there was still reason to smile. By virtue of results elsewhere in the Midwest League’s Eastern Division, Fort Wayne celebrated a clinched spot in the playoffs for the eighth time in nine seasons.
With four games remaining in the regular season, the TinCaps hold a three-game lead on the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Tampa Bay Rays) and a four-game lead on the South Bend Cubs (Chicago Cubs). Because Bowling Green and South Bend are scheduled to play three games against each other Saturday-Monday, it’s no longer possible that both teams would be able to catch Fort Wayne.
The Midwest League Playoffs will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 6 with a best-of-three opening-round series. The TinCaps’ opponent (Bowling Green or South Bend) and whether or not the team will have home-field advantage isn’t determined yet.
As for Thursday night, with the game tied, 2-2, the Loons scored two runs with two outs in the top of the 10th inning off TinCaps reliever Jose Galindo (L) to secure the win. Saige Jenco doubled and then stole third base. After a pop out and a strikeout, Cristian Santana singled to left field to score Jenco and put Great Lakes in front, 3-2. Two batters later, Cody Thomas singled to score Cristian Santana from second and give the Loons a 4-2 advantage.
Great Lakes (31-35, 67-68) scored the game’s first run in the top of the third. Nick Yarnall doubled to begin the inning. After a Jenco fly out, Yarnall moved to third base on a Jeren Kendall ground out to first base. Gavin Lux followed with an infield single that scored Yarnall to give the Loons a 1-0 lead.
Fort Wayne (40-26, 66-70) responded right away in the bottom of the third. In his first at bat since coming off the disabled list, catcher A.J. Kennedy crushed a ball over the wall in left-center field to tie the game, 1-1.
The TinCaps took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the sixth. With second baseman Nate Easley at first base and one out, third baseman Hudson Potts hammered a ball into the gap in right-center field, scoring Easley and giving Fort Wayne a 2-1 advantage.
The Loons tied the game in the eighth. With runners on second and third, a wild pitch allowed Yarnall to score from third base and knot the game up, 2-2.
Fort Wayne starting pitcher Michel Baez allowed just four hits and one run in seven innings on the mound. The 21-year-old Cuban struck out five batters while not allowing a walk.
Loons starting pitcher Leo Crawford allowed two runs in seven innings on the mound. Reliever Jeremiah Muhammad worked the Loons out of multiple jams. The TinCaps had the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth, but Muhammad induced a groundout into a fielder’s choice and a groundout into a double play that kept Fort Wayne from scoring any runs. The TinCaps also had runners on first and second with no outs in the tenth and couldn’t produce a run against Muhammad. In all, the right-hander pitched three scoreless innings.
Fort Wayne left 10 runners on base and was 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position in the game. Jack Suwinski racked up a career-high four hits, including two doubles, while also playing a great right field.
Friday, September 1 vs. Great Lakes (7:05 p.m.)
– TinCaps Probable Starter: RH Pedro Avila
– Loons Probable Starter: TBA
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