Fort Wayne's bats came alive – and kept it afloat – in a 16-10 win against South Bend on Friday at Parkview Field.
The TinCaps (47-37) broke a five-game losing streak in front of a crowd of 7,401. They proved they could beat the Midwest League Eastern Division-leading Silver Hawks (54-31) in convincing fashion.
And after just 18 runs in 12 games against South Bend, the TinCaps broke through with 16 runs, 20 hits and a much more confident approach than they had in previous match-ups.
Fort Wayne put up five runs in the third inning -- more than it had in any game against the Silver Hawks this season.
By the fourth inning, Fort Wayne had scored more runs than in any previous three games against South Bend combined. By the sixth, the TinCaps had broken their second-half high of 13 hits in a game.
It all led up to the second win in 13 tries for the home team against South Bend.
Matthew Shepherd, formerly a relief pitcher, went 4 2/3 innings in his first start for Fort Wayne. He gave up six hits and one earned run while striking out four Silver Hawks.
South Bend starter Jesse Darrah, and those that followed him, weren't as lucky.
Darrah let the TinCaps rack up seven hits – including one off his right ankle.
He went just three innings and had five earned runs to his credit by the end of his outing.
Reliever JR Bradley followed that up with a three-run fourth inning and surrendered six by the end of his 2 1/3 innings.
Some shaky relief from Ruben Mejia let South Bend back in the game briefly. Mejia gave up four runs in the sixth inning, which cut Fort Wayne's lead to 9-5.
Then, the TinCaps offense went to work again.
Fort Wayne piled on five hits and five more runs in the sixth, highlighted by catcher Rodney Daal's three-run home run to make it 14-5.
And South Bend shot right back.
The Silver Hawks put up a four-run response in the seventh courtesy of a grand slam by Fidel Pena. Pena, a second baseman, had eight RBI and went 4 for 5 on Friday.
That made it a 14-9 Fort Wayne lead, with 13 runs and 10 hits in 1½ innings.
The totals: 35 hits, 26 runs, six Fort Wayne pitchers and three from South Bend.
And for the TinCaps, the fourth win of the second half.
Daal led the way with two home runs in a 3-for-5 outing. His six RBI tied a season high for Fort Wayne batters.
As a team, the TinCaps finished one run and one hit behind their season highs in both categories.