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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 1:00 am

Bowling Green 7 TinCaps 5

First-place Hot Rods rally past TinCaps

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

TinCaps 

vs. Bowling Green

Where: Parkview Field

When: 7:05 p.m. today

Pitchers: Nick Margevicius (TinCaps) vs. TBA (Hot Rods)

TV: Xfinity 81

Radio: 1380 AM, 100.9 FM

The TinCaps have played five straight games against teams in first place in the Midwest League Eastern Division, including Tuesday's matchup at Parkview Field against the Bowling Green Hot Rods.

Fort Wayne has not seemed intimidated by the competition, knocking the Lansing Lugnuts out of the top spot with two straight wins Sunday and Monday, but also letting late leads slip away in the three other games, including Tuesday night.

Bowling Green shortstop Taylor Walls propelled his team to a 7-5 comeback victory with a tying double in the ninth, one of his four hits, in front of an announced crowd of 3,856. 

“I don't think these guys think about (playing first-place teams); I certainly don't,” TinCaps manager Anthony Contreras said. “As long as we go about our business the right way and we execute and pitch our game and hit and put up runs, we can compete against anybody.” 

The TinCaps (23-28) competed again Tuesday night and had a chance to make it three wins in those five games when shortstop Justin Lopez put Fort Wayne in front 5-4 with an RBI double in the eighth.

The bullpen couldn't get the final three outs, however, as Jared Carkuff gave up a single and a double, and Walls doubled off Travis Radke to knot the score at 5. He missed a bunt sign in the at-bat, but the potential gaffe worked out in the Hot Rods' favor.

“It ended up being 2-2 and then (Radke) threw me a curveball in the dirt,” said Walls, who went 4 for 5 with two doubles and a triple. “When he did that, I knew he would probably come back with something soft. ... I was just thinking if he threw me something soft, see it up, and he left a change-up up and in, and I put the barrel on it.”

The eventual winning run came in later in the ninth on a ground ball.

The Fort Wayne offense had sputtered a bit on the team's recent eight-game road trip but got going thanks to patience at the plate and aggressiveness on the base paths. Fort Wayne walked four times and attempted six steals, four of which were successful.

The game's first run came across in the opening inning when the TinCaps attempted a double steal after two walks. The throw went toward second and sailed into center, letting Esteury Ruiz trot home and make it 1-0.

Ruiz tied a career-high with three steals in the loss.

“A lot of these guys have the green light to go ahead and steal,” Contreras said. “Obviously, Ruiz when he gets on he has that itch to go. We want these guys pushing their limits to learn how to steal bases.”

Lopez made it 2-0 with a homer to right in the second inning, his second of the season. Tirso Ornelas doubled in two runs in the fifth to make it 4-2, but TinCaps starter Aaron Leasher couldn't hold the lead either time, giving up two in the third and two more in the sixth. 

Note: Bowling Green pitching coach Brian Reith is a Fort Wayne native and former Concordia standout who went on to pitch parts of four seasons for the Cincinnati Reds from 2001 to 2004. 

dsinn@jg.net