FORT WAYNE – The night before, with the potential tying runs on base, the TinCaps didnt get a chance to finish the seventh inning and consequently got washed out of an opportunity to catch West Michigan, losing the abbreviated game by two runs.
Lee Orr wasnt about to let that happen again.
With a fine, cool mist descending on Parkview Field and his team trailing by a run in the fourth inning, Orr unleashed a vicious three-run, line-drive home run into deep left field to catapult the TinCaps to a 9-3 victory over West Michigan before 7,289 fans Friday.
Its unfortunate, but its a new day, Orr said of the 5-3 loss the night before. Youve just got to move on and come out (Friday) and get the W. Thats all that matters; get the series win.
After series splits with Bowling Green and South Bend, the TinCaps (28-19, 59-58) took two out of three from West Michigan (23-24, 59-58). Fort Wayne opens a six-game road trip tonight when it plays three games at Dayton, then three at Lansing.
The TinCaps got a rare start from reliever James Needy, who gave up two hits and a run against the first three batters he faced. But Needy settled in, finishing with five innings in which he gave up three hits while striking out seven and walking one batter.
Nothing really changed. I just kept hitting my spots. The first inning, they had two good swings on two pitches, Needy said. Youve just got to minimize the damage. As a starter, youve got to get five, six innings in, at least, to allow the bullpen to close it out for you.
Although West Michigan scored a pair of ninth-inning runs, it was the offense that took control, beginning with Orrs home run.
Whenever I hit it, I didnt think it was going to go out, Orr said. I knew I hit it well, but I knew the wind was blowing in.
Austin Hedges ground ball past shortstop for an error brought in two runs in the sixth. Then Yeison Asencio, who went 3 for 4 and scored twice, drove home two with a double to the base of the left field wall.
In the eighth, Duanel Jones hit a solo home run in a similar location to Orrs. The difference was Orr stayed on his feet, and Jones appeared to have tripped over first base.
I think (first base coach Ruben Mejia) tried to shake his hand and give a pat on his back, and instead of giving him a pat on the butt, he hit him in the leg, manager Jose Valentin said.