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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, July 08, 2018 9:10 pm

TinCaps drop third in a row, two more hits for Podorsky

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Early in the second half, the TinCaps swept Bowling Green in a three-game series. At the time, the sweep seemed like a message from Fort Wayne that it was ready to be a player in the Eastern Division race in the season's final months.

The Hot Rods have returned the favor in this series, winning the first three games of the four-game set and moving back into first place in the division. Having already clinched a playoff spot thanks to their first-half division title, Bowling Green has little to play for over the next two months, but the statement the Hot Rods have seemed to make in this series is, "We're still here."

The first two games of the series saw the TinCaps make uncharacteristic mistakes in the field and give away some at-bats, leading to a pair of frustrating losses. Sunday's game was frustrating in a different way: Fort Wayne played a clean game defensively, got a solid pitching performance, especially from its bullpen, picked up a few clutch hits, and lost anyway. Bowling Green is so good that sometimes everything can go right and the Hot Rods win anyway, as their dominant 59-28 record can attest.

In this particular game, the score was tied at 3 into the ninth inning, when Bowling Green slugger Ronaldo Hernandez drove a Travis Radke changeup over the left-center wall for a go-ahead home run. It was the only run the Fort Wayne bullpen surrendered in 4 2/3 innings. 

One of the Fort Wayne relievers who recorded a scoreless outing was 2018 fourth-round pick Dylan Coleman. He pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings and hit 96 mph with his fastball, becoming the first 2018 draft pick to play for the TinCaps.

"We knew he had a big arm, but this is the first I'd seen him," manager Anthony Contreras said of Coleman. "He threw well. I think just getting some games under his belt in this environment will be good for him."

The TinCaps had just seven hits, but once again, a couple of those came from left-fielder Robbie Podorsky. The 5-foot-7 speedster went 2 for 4 in the leadoff spot, scoring a run in the third inning and driving in the tying tally in the fifth with a sharp single through a drawn-in infield. He has seven multi-hit games in his last 11 and is hitting .364 with the TinCaps.

"I'm just keeping everything simple," Podorsky said. "I can't stress that enough, just my approach and my swing, just keeping it simple and staying confident. That and a little bit of luck. Always have to have the luck."

After three straight losses, Fort Wayne will have to win Monday to avoid a sweep, which would be a deflating result, especially before going out on the road for a week.

"It's very important," Contreras said of Monday's matchup. "We want to win every single game, we want to go out there and compete and we are competing right now, we're just not picking up the result we want. Just like we've turned it around at the start of this second half, we can turn it around at any time, we've just gotta be ready to go tomorrow."

dsinn@jg.net