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The Journal Gazette

  • TinCaps starting pitcher MacKenzie Gore earned his first win Wednesday, striking out six over six innings. (Photos by Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette)

  • TinCaps' Gabriel Arias is out at home with Great Lakes Loons' catcher Darrell Miller in the second inning of Wednesday's game at Parkview Field.

  • TinCaps' Esteury Ruiz hits a foul ball in the second inning of Wednesday's game against Great Lakes Loons at Parkview Field.

  • TinCaps' MacKenzie Gore started off against the Great Lakes Loons Wednesday night at Parkview Field.

Thursday, July 05, 2018 1:00 am

TinCaps 7 Great Lakes 0

Loons have no answer for Gore

Touted prospect goes six innings to earn first victory

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

TinCaps vs. Great Lakes

Where: Parkview Field

When: 7:05 p.m. today

Pitchers: Luis Patino (TinCaps) vs. Edwin Uceta (Loons)

TV: Xfinity 81

Radio: 1380 AM, 100.9 FM

When the season began, the TinCaps expected MacKenzie Gore to be a workhorse at the top of the rotation. Those plans got sidetracked as the highly touted Gore struggled with a blister on his pitching hand, but Wednesday he threw like one of the best pitching prospects in baseball.

The slender left-hander had easily his best start of the season, tossing six shutout innings and striking out six, leading Fort Wayne to a 7-0 victory over Great Lakes at Parkview Field in front of a standing-room-only announced crowd of 8,805, the largest attendance of the season and sixth-largest in stadium history.

“It was a great atmosphere tonight,” said left fielder Robbie Podorsky, who had two hits. “We played outstanding defense; we had outstanding pitching. Gore gave us a hell of a start. It was just a great feeling out there today.”

The win was the ninth in their last 11 games for the TinCaps (42-42, 10-4 second half) and coupled with a Lansing loss to West Michigan moved Fort Wayne into a tie for first in the Eastern Division.

Gore dominated, letting just one runner reach second base and pitching past the fourth inning for the first time all season. The 2017 No. 3 overall draft pick threw a season-high 86 pitches and earned his first win as a professional.

“The fastball was good,” Gore said. “The command, I thought could have been better, a lot of three-ball counts; but I just went out there and competed with the fastball and went after people and it worked.”

The TinCaps put up four runs in the second inning and were in command the rest of the game. The big blow in the inning came off the bat of the red-hot Podorsky, who roped a two-out, bases-loaded triple to right that put Fort Wayne in front 4-0. 

“I was really just hunting fastballs,” he said. “I tried to fake myself out and tell myself that the pressure was on the pitcher and not on me. So that took a little of the edge off, and I just stuck to my approach, which was hunting heaters. (Great Lakes starter Andre Jackson) gave me one.”

Podorsky came in hitting .556 against the Loons (25-57, 1-13) and went 2 for 4 with a steal and three RBI. He raised his batting average with the TinCaps to .357 and has five multi-hit games in his last seven.

“He obviously has that stigma of the little guy and everyone plays him in,” manager Anthony Contreras said of 5-foot-7 Podorsky. “I told him today when he hit that triple that teams are going to have to start respecting him now because he has the ability to hit it over their heads. ... For him to do the whole package where he can drive runs in, he can get on base, he can steal a base; it's just gonna help his stock moving up through the ranks.”

The TinCaps added a run in the third when Justin Lopez crushed a home run 391 feet to left. It was his sixth homer of the season and third since June 24. Fort Wayne got another run in the fifth when Jalen Washington doubled to left, bringing in Luis Almanzar from first.

dsinn@jg.net