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    Less than a week ago, after getting swept at Lake County, the TinCaps seemed to lose any momentum they had been building in their pursuit of a sixth straight playoff berth.
  • TinCaps win to tighten up race
    Once the final out was recorded, John Nester got the silent treatment, one of baseball’s quirky ways of celebrating a big achievement.“I don’t think anybody likes me too much,” the TinCaps’ catcher cracked.
  • TinCaps smash their way to win
    Manager Michael Collins didn’t want his batters to think about the long ball this season.Yet this year’s TinCaps hit more than any team in Fort Wayne history.
vs. Clinton
When: 7:05 p.m. today
Radio: 1380 AM
Tickets: $12.50, $10, $9, $8, $5 (lawn)
Information: or 482-6400

TinCaps go hard way to capture sloppy win

Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Rodney Daal of the TinCaps gets back safely in the third inning on a pickoff attempt by Clinton pitcher Tim Lopes.

At least they keep it interesting.

The TinCaps played a sloppy game Sunday in the first of a three-game series against the Clinton LumberKings. For the second time in three days, Fort Wayne went to extra innings.

This time, the TinCaps needed 11 innings and some heroics from Gabriel Quintana and Jeremy Baltz at the plate – to knock off the visiting squad 3-2.

“I guess the guys like to win it the hard way,” TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said. “They can’t make it easy. But like I said, a win is a win. You’ve got to take those, no matter how.”

It was the 13th victory of the season for Fort Wayne and its ninth at Parkview Field, this time in front of 5,486 fans.

They weren’t disappointed.

Both teams got solid games out of their starters, with Zach Eflin going five innings and allowing one run on five hits. He struck out five.

“It’s good to see him,” Valentin said of the right-handed Eflin, who recently turned 19. “The guy, he can pitch. He’s got the stuff. He just has to trust himself. He’s just gotta go up there and throw the ball. Sometimes, he’ll give you two good innings and then after that, for some reason, the concentration falls.”

LumberKings starter Dylan Unsworth went nine innings. He surrendered two runs on seven hits. His team tied the game at 2 in the seventh inning on a bases-loaded grounder.

Clinton reliever Blake Hauser got two quick outs in the bottom of the 11th: a strikeout of Alberth Martinez and a groundout from Maxx Tissenbaum. But he hit Quintana with a pitch, who then stole second.

The outfield was pulled in to prevent Quintana from scoring on a shallow hit, and Baltz – down 0-2 in the count – worked for a pitch he liked and blasted it over the center fielder’s head for the win.

“It was a kind of sloppy game. We’ve been lucky,” Valentin said. “I think we can be even better. They just keep playing hard. Guys just keep trying and trying and find a way to win. But at the same time, sometimes we find a way to lose, too.”

The TinCaps did so Saturday in a 5-3 loss to Kane County. That game would have given Fort Wayne its second home series sweep of the season. Now, they’ll try to get that done against Clinton.

“As a coach, I have to make sure to teach those guys how to correct those mistakes,” Valentin said. “Mistakes are gonna come, but it’s better to make mistakes physically than mentally. I think we are making too many mistakes mentally.”