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Despite win, Valentin not satisfied

The TinCaps got a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Lake County Captains, but the manager is still irked.

Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Mallex Smith of the TinCaps appeared to be tagged out by Lake County’s Dorssys Paulino, but was safe because of a balk.

TinCaps end slide; manager not impressed

– The TinCaps finally got a victory Wednesday afternoon.

Fort Wayne snapped a five-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over Lake County at Parkview Field, but TinCaps manager Jose Valentin still wasn’t happy.

“I don’t think they responded,” Valentin said. “It’s just a situation where, yeah we won, but it was just one good inning. All game, we just kept swinging and swinging until something happened.”

The TinCaps struck out eight times, and after failing to capitalize on chances early, all of their runs came in the seventh inning.

The TinCaps’ Brian Adams, Mallex Smith and Alberth Martinez each brought home a run with a double, and Diego Goris had an RBI single.

The TinCaps (56-50, 13-24 second half) didn’t seal the win until Trevor Gott struck out the Captains’ Eric Haase with a man on third in the ninth.

“With this win today, hopefully it’s a good start and we start playing better,” said Valentin, who criticized his players after the TinCaps gave up a seven-run lead in a 10-9 loss to Lake County (41-64, 18-20) on Tuesday night.

The TinCaps earned a playoff berth after going 43-26 in the first half of the season to finish second in the Midwest League Eastern Division, but they no longer look like a team ready to make a postseason run.

“I feel like we gave a good response today, but a better response would be to come back tomorrow and get another win and start a little winning streak,” Smith said. “It’s very good for everybody to come through in the moment (like we did in the seventh), because we’ve been needing that.”

The early portion of the game typified the TinCaps’ mistakes of late.

In the first inning, a Ryan Merritt balk allowed Smith to advance to second. But Smith was thrown out trying to steal third, and Goris and Gabriel Quintana were left stranded after both reached on singles.

In the bottom of the second, there was another balk, advancing Tyler Stubblefield to second. However, Corey Adamson and Adams struck out to end the inning.

“Why they keep (making the same mistakes), I don’t know. It’s not about me. It’s not about the hitting coach,” Valentin said. “They’ve been told about it. It doesn’t matter what type of hitting coach they have. When it’s time to do it, they have to do it.”

Fort Wayne starter Zach Eflin went six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits with two strikeouts and two walks. Eflin’s replacement, Ruben Mejia (3-5), saw his first pitch go over the right-field wall thanks to Jorge Martinez’s home run and he gave up three hits and one run in 1 2/3 innings.

Luis Morel (2-3) got the loss, giving up seven hits and four runs in five innings.