FORT WAYNE – Thursday was Tribute to Professional Wrestling Night at Parkview Field, and the guest of honor was 1980s World Wrestling Federation icon Sgt. Slaughter.
He grooved a ceremonial opening pitch. Ordered all hands to Play ball! Clotheslined a couple of no-goodnik cheaters in the taco sauce race.
After which the TinCaps went out and did the same thing to themselves.
Gabriel Quintana homered twice and Reynaldo Bruguera once, TinCaps starter Bryan Rodriguez scattered five hits and struck out five in six innings’ work, and it all went for naught as an adventurous night in the field led to a 6-4 loss to Bowling Green in front of 7,466 fans.
The TinCaps (62-59, 19-33 second half) committed six errors that ushered home five unearned runs for Bowling Green, ruining any and all of their good works.
You cannot win with six errors, said TinCaps manager Jose Valentin, stating the obvious. Pretty much every single one cost us runs. Tough to win that way.
Right there that’s a sign of how inconsistent we play. We played a great game yesterday, and then today, in 24 hours, different team.
And the misadventures began early.
In the Bowling Green first, Andrew Toles cracked a leadoff single, then took second on an errant pickoff throw by Rodriguez. Then he came all the way home when catcher Rodney Daal’s attempt to throw him out while stealing third sailed high and wide into left field.
Three more fielding errors opened the door for three more Bowling Green (31-22, 69-52) runs in the fifth. A bizarre fumble on an attempted relay throw by center fielder Mallex Smith brought home one run; first baseman Luis Tejada’s muff of a hot shot down the line scored the second; and Daal’s second errant throw to third of the game chased home one more.
In the sixth, yet another error – Quintana’s mishandling of a routine grounder to third – set the table for another Bowling Green run, this one an RBI single by Marty Gantt.
Six innings, six errors, and a 5-3 deficit from which the TinCaps didn’t recover. After Quintana’s second homer to lead off the sixth, 12 of the last 13 TinCaps were retired.
The TinCaps scored three of their runs in third, shaking awake what had been a quiet evening to date for Hot Rods starter Jeff Ames. After retiring eight of the first 10 batters he’d faced, Ames surrendered Bruguera’s bomb to right, then a single to Alberth Martinez, then Quintana’s moon shot to left-center. All of that came with two out.
And it didn’t last.
We could have won this game if we’d played better defense, Valentin said. You get 27 chances to get some outs. When you’re giving some outs away, and you only score four runs, pretty much there’s nothing you can do about that. It was just a badly played game and that’s where we are.