FORT WAYNE – Because of the TinCaps’ charity Saturday, the four-game winning streak that was within reach for the third time this season didn’t happen – again.
All but one of the runs Kane County scored in its 5-3 victory in front of 7,013 fans inside Parkview Field began with either a TinCaps error or walk.
Walks are something you can’t afford, Fort Wayne manager Jose Valentin said.
But three TinCaps pitchers gave up five walks. Then there was the issue of three errors.
Sloppy was how Valentin described Saturday.
It was the third time this season that the TinCaps (12-9) had a chance for a four-game winning streak, and it was the third time that they didn’t get there. The team opened the season with three in a row before losing to Great Lakes, and it took three straight over Lansing a week ago. But Saturday was the first crack at home to win four straight.
It’s the five walks and three errors that bugged Valentin more than falling short of four consecutive wins.
You try to win the series, Valentin said. If we can get three in a row and sweep everybody, that’s fine with me, but getting two out of three, three out of four – when you do that all season, you’re going to be in pretty good shape.
The TinCaps started Saturday in pretty good shape when Diego Goris dropped a two-out single into center, then scored on Dane Phillips’ double off the left field wall. When Phillips scored on Jeremy Baltz’ flair over the second baseman’s head and at the right fielder’s feet, the TinCaps had a 2-0 lead.
Then came the local charity.
Oliver Zapata, the Cougars’ No. 9 hitter, drew a one-out walk in the third and scored. Two innings later, he reached on shortstop Stephon Carmon’s fielding error and tied the game at 2.
Then came the eighth.
Gioskar Amaya opened the inning with a single and scored on a wild pitch. Jeimer Candelario and Rock Shoulders got back-to-back walks from losing pitcher Erik Cabrera (0-3), and both eventually scored.
I think we’ve been playing pretty good, for the most part, said TinCaps left fielder Jeremy Baltz, who had three of the team’s 10 hits. (Saturday) we had a hiccup; we kind of struggled with runners on. We didn’t pick up our starting pitcher Justin Hancock, who did an excellent job.
Hancock, the Defiance, Ohio, native, worked the first six innings and gave up three hits, two runs (one earned), walked two and struck out three.
You have to take every game seriously, no matter if it’s a win or a loss; no matter if it’s the first game of the season or the last of the playoffs, Baltz said. You can’t carry that into the next game. That’s when you see us starting to get into slumps, start losing ballgames, making errors. The key is not carrying it into the next day.
Today at 3:05 p.m., the TinCaps are back home to begin a three-game series against Clinton.