FORT WAYNE – There was sleet. There was snow (Really!). There were gray skies and fans in ski caps and a wind blowing the flags out to center that came straight off the steppes of Alberta, or perhaps just C.O.D. from December.
In which case, it stood to reason that there was also Santa Claus.
He showed up disguised as Lansing reliever Alonzo Gonzalez, and proceeded to hand out gifts. In just two-thirds of an inning – the magnanimous sixth – he offered the TinCaps all manner of goodies, and the home nine eagerly accepted, using them as a springboard to a 7-3 victory at Parkview Field on Friday night.
As the wind whistled and snow squalls periodically swirled in the lights, the TinCaps (7-6) iced Gonzalez for four hits and four runs in the sixth, erasing a 3-2 Lansing lead.
Gabriel Quintana, who went 3 for 5, got the big knock, a two-out, bases-loaded single that chased home two runs.
The TinCaps then pieced together two more runs on two walks, a hit batsman and singles by Corey Adamson, Alberth Martinez and Mallex Smith.
All told, the TinCaps sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning and scored all of their runs with two outs.
Then they turned it over to relievers Matthew Shepherd, Leonel Campos and Ramon Madrid, who finished starter Joe Ross’ work with 4 1/3 innings of two-hit, one-run work. Shepherd got the win. Campos and Madrid held Lansing hitless across the last two innings.
It was a good job, TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said. Got 15 more hits today, and most of them were in a clutch situation, which is good always. Today I think was something (where) the offense was on today and the bullpen did a great job.
Ross, meanwhile, surrendered just three hits and two runs in 4 2/3 innings’ work but wasn’t quite as sharp as his first two outings – victories in which he gave up just two total hits and no earned runs and struck out 12.
Joe Ross, I don’t think he had his best stuff today, Valentin said. I don’t know if it was cold weather for him today, but the first two outings, he was attacking the hitters and getting ahead in the count. Today it was the other way.
But even with him not having his best stuff, the way we were hitting today Overall I think the biggest thing was Quintana with two outs. We get two runs and then after that we were able to split the game wide open.
And it wasn’t just that they scored. It was how – with timely hitting that deserted them the last two games in South Bend, one-run losses in which they scored five runs.
The thing is, we’ve been giving up that big inning the last couple of games, said Adamson, who went 2 for 5 with a run and an RBI and was one of five TinCaps with at least two hits.
We had to get it back this time and get a big inning ourselves and get some momentum for the rest of this series, Adamson said.