FORT WAYNE – The TinCaps rode a six-game winning streak and their first road series sweep into a game against Bowling Green, tied for first in the Midwest League Eastern Division.
None of Fort Wayne’s recent success helped on Tuesday.
The TinCaps had several chances but could not break down the Hot Rods in a 3-2 loss at Parkview Field.
It was Fort Wayne’s fourth loss at home in 17 games. A win against the Hot Rods (24-12), who are tied for first in the division with South Bend (23-11), would have tied the TinCaps (22-14) with Bowling Green for second.
Today, it didn’t happen, TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said. We got a lot of chances to score.
Chances Fort Wayne couldn’t turn around thanks to the Bowling Green pitching staff and a couple of bad breaks at the plate.
Hot Rods starter Reinaldo Lopez threw five innings and gave up two hits. Reliever Jose Molina came on and allowed two hits and one earned run in two innings.
Then, with closer Ryan Garton on the mound in the eighth, Fort Wayne made noise.
The TinCaps, who were down 3-1, loaded the bases with no outs. A double play ball from Gabriel Quintana allowed one run to score but also set Fort Wayne up for an inning-ending out during the next at-bat.
Quintana accounted for both of Fort Wayne’s RBI, including a home run in the bottom of the seventh that put the TinCaps in striking distance.
You can’t have a lazy game or waste an opportunity like that against a team like Bowling Green, Valentin said. They got a great team, and we got to take advantage of every opportunity we can.
TinCaps starter Joe Ross went six innings and gave up no hits through his first three. Fort Wayne’s ace surrendered five hits afterward and gave up all three of Bowling Green’s runs. Ross, who picked up his first loss of the season after a 3-0 start, also had seven strikeouts.
Valentin complimented Ross’ outing and said he got all he could expect from his starter. The team’s hitting in clutch situations was what decided the first game of the series.
I think we hit some balls hard, and they got robbed, center fielder Brian Adams said after an 0-for-4 outing. We put a couple balls square, and things didn’t go our way. We got it close there at the end and didn’t get runners on.
The Hot Rods are 4-1 against Fort Wayne, including a series in Kentucky earlier this season.
Notes: Outfielder Mallex Smith came off the disabled list to rejoin the TinCaps. Pitchers Erik Cabrera and Genison Reyes, as well as infielder Felix Cabrera, were transferred to extended spring training. The TinCaps added two right-handed pitchers, Michael Kelly and Matthew Chabot, to their 25-man roster.