Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette TinCaps' Jorge Ona hits a ground ball in the third inning of Saturday's playoff game against Dayton at Parkview Field.
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette TinCaps' Gabriel Arias tags Dayton's Taylor Trammell after he got himself in a pickle in the first inning Saturday's playoff game at Parkview Field.
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette TinCaps' Adrian Morejon began pitching in Saturday's playoff game against Dayton at Parkview Field.
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette TinCaps' Marcus Greene, Jr., hits a foul ball in the first inning of Saturday's playoff game against Dayton at Parkview Field.
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette TinCaps' Gabriel Arias tries to tag Dayton's Randy Ventura as he steals second base in the first inning of Saturday's playoff game at Parkview Field.
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette TinCaps' Kyle Overstreet tosses the ball to first in the fourth inning of Saturday's playoff game against Dayton at Parkview Field.
Saturday, September 09, 2017 10:10 pm
No earned runs, no win for TinCaps
Face must-win situation against Dragons
JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette
The TinCaps now face a must-win situation. A 2-1 loss tonight to the Dayton Dragons put them down 1-0 in the best-of-3 Eastern Division Championship Series, which continues Sunday and, if necessary, Monday at Dayton, Ohio.
The really bad news is that of the 15 times these teams have met this year, the home team has won 12 times.
But the Dragons showed tonight it can be done with great pitching and timely offense, even if the game wasn't much in terms of providing highlights. Of the three runs scored, only one was earned and that came in the opening minutes at Parkview Field and for the Dragons.
Fort Wayne's starting pitcher, Adrian Morejon, worked six innings and gave up one run and seven hits, striking out five and walking two. Dayton's starter, Wennington Romero, was even more impressive, working 6 1/3 innings and allowing no earned runs and six hits, striking out eight and walking none.
(Video highlights from the game are above.)
Riding the momentum of their first-round upset of Midwest League-best West Michigan, which concluded with a 4-3 victory in 11 innings Friday night, the Dragons got going with a run in the top of the first inning. It was scored by Randy Ventura, off a single by Taylor Trammell, who was then caught in a pickle between first and second base after it took five throws to run him down.
The TinCaps, who got to rest Friday after completing a two-game sweep of Bowling Green, had immediate chances to answer, stranding two runners in both the first and second innings. But they didn't tie it until there were two outs in the third inning and Marcus Greene Jr.'s ground ball preceded shortstop Carlos Rivera's third throwing error of the postseason, bringing in Nate Easley.
Things began coming undone in the eighth inning for the TinCaps, when relief pitcher Dauris Valdez, who had come on in the seventh, followed a Jose Siri single with a wild pitch to Trammell that advanced Siri and then a walk of Trammell. Valdez was then replaced by Andres Munoz, who was felled by three spots of bad luck. He had a 1-2 count on Bruce Yaro and twice had what the crowd felt were strikes called balls by the home-plate umpire, Darius Ghani. Then, Yaro hit a groundball to shortstop Gabriel Arias, who touched second base but failed to complete the double play with a low throw to the first baseman, Kyle Overstreet. That brought Siri home for a 2-1 Dayton lead.
The TinCaps threatened to tie it in the bottom of the inning. But, after Overstreet hit a groundball single, Greene Jr.'s deep fly ball was caught at the warning track by Michael Beltre.
Easley was 3 for 4 for the TinCaps (70-73, 2-1 in postseason), while Overstreet was 2 for 4. For Dayton (74-70, 3-1), Siri was 3 for 4.
Notes: Prior to the game, the San Diego Padres moved pitchers Reggie Lawson and Lake Bachar, and infielder Justin Lopez, from Short-season Tri-City to the TinCaps. Lawson is slated to start today. … Lopez, 17, is the youngest player on the Fort Wayne roster. He and Fort Wayne's Gabriel Arias, also 17, are the two youngest players in the minors. … Lopez signed with the Padres for $1.2 million on July 2, 2016, when he was rated the 28th best international free agent by Baseball America. In 67 games with Tri-City, he batted .246 with two home runs, 22 RBI and 16 doubles, which were tied for the second most in the Northwest League. … The Padres moved pitchers Pedro Avila and Joe Galindo, along with infielder Reinaldo Ilarraza, from Fort Wayne to Tri-City.