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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, June 09, 2018 10:50 pm

TinCaps fall to Lansing 6-3

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

How it Happened

The decisive rally came in the Lugnuts' half of the ninth. With All-Star reliever Travis Radke in, Ryan Gold walked on four pitches to lead off the inning. Kevin Vicuna pinch-ran and Radke was clearly a little preoccupied with the speedy Vicuna, throwing over to first several times. No. 9 hitter Reggie Pruitt took advantage, slashing a ball down the right-field line into the TinCaps' bullpen. Before Tirso Ornelas could throw the ball, Pruitt was on third with a triple and Gold had scored to put his team in front 4-3. Two more runs came across in the inning against the usually stingy Radke to provide the winning margin.

Much like in Friday's game, the TinCaps (27-33) were quiet in the first two innings before putting together a rally in the third. The inning began with back-to-back two-baggers from Nick Feight and Jack Suwinski, the latter driving in the game's first run. It was Suwinski's second extra-base hit in as many nights after having just one such hit in his previous 17 games. Fort Wayne added a second run later in the inning when Esteury Ruiz blooped a single to center to drive in Suwinski and put his team in front 2-0.

The TinCaps had a chance to get more in the inning, but unlike the first game of the series, they couldn't make any noise with the bases loaded. With one out and the bags full, both Gabriel Arias and Luis Almanzar swinging to limit the damage in the inning. Fort Wayne walked three times with the bases loaded Friday, but Lugnuts (39-23) starter Maverik Buffo was able to throw strikes in a pressure situation and escape further trouble.

The rest of the early innings belonged to Fort Wayne starter Luis Patino, who did not give up a hit through five innings. The 18-year-old right-hander mixed his pitches well, hitting 97 mph with his fastball and sitting 95 with ease. He got swings and misses with both his curveball and his slider and picked off the only runner to reach second base. His command wasn't great, but his stuff was so electric that it didn't matter and he held a 2-0 lead through five innings.

The lead didn't last long after Patino exited. Right-hander Caleb Boushley retired the first hitter he faced in the sixth, but gave up a single to Brock Lundquist, the first Lansing hit of the game. After the Lugnuts collected their first hit, they quickly got their first runs. Trailing 2-0, first baseman Ryan Noda launched a long home run over the right-field wall to knot the score at 2. The ball jumped off his bat at 109 mph and traveled 429 feet. For Noda, it was the continuation of his best stretch of the season. The 22-year-old homered twice Wednesday against the Bowling Green Hot Rods and homered in the ninth inning of the first game of this series.

Player of the Game: Luis Patino

The TinCaps' right-hander, the youngest pitcher in the Midwest League, held the Lugnuts scoreless through five innings, his third straight scoreless outing. Patino has pitched 14 straight scoreless innings over those three starts and left after a hitless outing in which he struck out four and walked three. He needed just 76 pitches to complete his outing.

Facts & figures

Ruiz came into the game with 18 steals, the third-best total in the league, and stole a base in the third. He has been caught five times this season. ... Despite a second consecutive loss, the Lugnuts still own the best road record in the Midwest League at 19-12. ... The TinCaps got four hits and two runs scored from their Nos. 8-9 hitters, Feight and Suwinski. ... Luis Campusano went 1 for 2 with a walk for Fort Wayne and has reached base at least twice in five of his last seven games. He has three walks over the last two games. ... Caleb Boushley entered the game with a 1.80 ERA, but gave up three runs for the first time this season. It was the first time he'd given up multiple runs in an outing since May 1. ... Lansing first baseman Ryan Noda came into the game leading the Midwest League in walks with 52 and walked in the second and eighth. Noda has five home runs this season and all five have come since May 30. ... The ZOOperstars performed at Parkview Field for the first time this season. Harry Canary sang the Seventh Inning Stretch. ... Lugnuts starting pitcher Maverik Buffo was named after Tom Cruise's pilot character Maverick from "Top Gun."

What's next?

These teams will meet for the third of four games in this series Sunday at Parkview Field. First pitch will be at 3:05 p.m. and the TinCaps will send All-Star Aaron Leasher (2-3, 3.08 ERA) to the mound. Leasher hasn't made a start since May 29, but he pitched in relief Tuesday against the South Bend Cubs, pitching four shutout innings and giving up just two hits. The Lugnuts will counter with 19-year-old Maximo Castillo (4-1, 5.96 ERA).