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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette TinCaps starter MacKenzie Gore struggled in the first inning Monday against West Michigan.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 1:00 am

TinCaps 5, West Michigan 3

Top Padres prospects help rally TinCaps from 3-0 hole

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette


vs. West Michigan

When: 7:05 p.m. today

Where: Parkview Field

Pitchers: Osvaldo Hernandez (TinCaps) vs. Elvin Rodriguez (Whitecaps)

TV: Xfinity 81

Radio: 1380 AM or 100.9 FM

All eight TinCaps among the San Diego Padres’ Top 30 prospects saw the field Monday night and they collectively helped the team end a four-game losing streak.

No. 10 prospect Esteury Ruiz doubled twice and knocked in a run, and 23rd-ranked Mason Thompson pitched four scoreless innings to get his team-high fourth win, propelling Fort Wayne past the West Michigan Whitecaps 5-3 at Parkview Field in front of an announced crowd of 3,438.  

“It’s huge,” Thompson said of his team overcoming an early deficit. “We have a lot of young guys, a lot of young guys contributing to the team, and it’s a big confidence booster for us, coming off the (1-4) road trip we just had. It’s a good way to start out (the homestand), and I’m excited to see what we can do going forward.”

The TinCaps (15-21) fell behind 3-0 after the top of the first inning but responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Ruiz started the inning with a walk and later came around to score when No. 22 prospect Luis Campusano lined a single to right-center.

In between, No. 13 prospect Tirso Ornelas roped a single to center, and he scored when Luis Almanzar flied out to center to cut the deficit to one. It was the first RBI with Fort Wayne for the 25th-ranked Almanzar.

Ruiz struck again in the second inning, driving in No. 17 prospect Jeisson Rosario with a double down the left-field line. The blow knotted the score, and the TinCaps went in front 4-3 in the third after two singles and an error. The error was one of five the Whitecaps (19-17) committed.

Thompson, who made his first appearance out of the bullpen this season in relief of left-hander MacKenzie Gore, made the one-run lead stand up.

Thompson struck out six and gave up two hits. In his last three appearances, including two starts, he has pitched 15 innings and given up two runs to lower his ERA from 11.85 to 6.27.

“The more I get out there, the more comfortable I feel, especially coming back from the injury from last year,” said Thompson, who missed the last two months of 2017 with a shoulder injury. “It gives me a lot of confidence going into this year, knowing I’m going to get more opportunities to pitch and continue to compete.”

Gore, the No. 2 prospect in the Padres system, made his second start after a six-week stint on the disabled list and followed the same pattern as his first two outings this season: flashes of dominance combined with stretches of vulnerability. The left-hander hit 95 mph on the radar gun but gave up a two-run homer in the first and three runs in three innings overall.

“Tonight wasn’t very good either,” said Gore, who owns a 10.13 ERA in three starts this season. “I had a rough first inning, and I did bounce back the next two (innings) and put up some zeros and that was big because we battled all night and got the win. But I got a lot of work to do and I’ve got to figure something out.”

The game opened a seven-game homestand for the TinCaps and come on the heels of a stretch in which they’d lost seven of eight.