FORT WAYNE – Errors plagued the TinCaps throughout their game against Lansing on Thursday at Parkview Field.
Fort Wayne’s offensive resurgence saved it.
The TinCaps (30-22) survived four unearned runs thanks to seven extra-base hits in a 7-4 win over the Lugnuts (21-29).
The victory moved Fort Wayne a half-game ahead of Bowling Green for second place in the Midwest League Eastern Division with 17 games to go before the end of the first half of the season.
It’s getting better and better, TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said. I like the way they’re swinging – not only swinging and hitting the ball hard, but also the pitch selection is good.
All four of Lansing’s runs from the first to fourth innings came with two outs.
The mistakes could have ruined Fort Wayne’s chance to take over second place and be in control of the playoff wild-card spot that comes with it.
But the TinCaps responded to every Lansing push.
Consecutive doubles to lead off the second inning, followed by a base hit, got Fort Wayne a 2-1 lead.
A leadoff home run in the third by Mallex Smith, followed by the same from Corey Adamson in the fourth, helped the TinCaps tie the game at 4.
And in the fifth, a double from Maxx Tissenbaum and an error by Lansing shortstop Emilio Guerrero gave a 5-4 lead back to Fort Wayne.
We were putting the ball in play, Valentin said. The guys didn’t back down. They didn’t panic after that. They battled.
Reliever Joe Church settled in after giving up two hits and hitting a batter in the fourth inning. He retired six straight from the final out of the fourth to the sixth and allowed one hit in that span.
His efforts paid off in the bottom of the sixth, when the TinCaps hit two more doubles and pushed the lead to 7-4.
TinCaps reliever Michael Kelly came on in the seventh for the hold, and Leonel Campos in the eighth and ninth to get the save.
Fort Wayne earned its third sweep this month, and fifth overall, in front of 4,971 fans. The TinCaps have won five straight since ending a season-worst five-game losing streak.
During that losing stretch, the TinCaps had 31 hits, eight runs and were shut out twice. Since, they have 55 hits, 31 runs and scored at least five runs in each win.
You learn a lot when you’re losing, said Tissenbaum, who had two doubles Thursday. You got to really look at yourself and figure out what you’re doing wrong. That’s one of the best ways to grow.
Note: Fort Wayne made Gabriel Quintana’s move to the disabled list official Thursday and added infielder Chris Burke. Burke joined the TinCaps from Double-A San Antonio.