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The Journal Gazette

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette TinCaps base runner Nick Feight dives back to first base during the second inning Friday night against Bowling Green. Feight had singled to lead off the inning.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Nick Feight of the TinCaps hits the ball during the fourth inning against Bowling Green on Friday night at Parkview Field.

Saturday, July 07, 2018 1:00 am

Bowling Green 6 TinCaps 1

TinCaps come up short in clutch in falling to Hot Rods

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

TinCaps vs. Bowling Green

Where: Parkview Field

When: 7:05 p.m. today

Pitchers: Tom Cosgrove (TinCaps) vs. Resly Linares (Hot Rods)

TV: Xfinity 81

Radio: 1380 AM, 100.9 FM

For one of the rare times in the second half of the season, the TinCaps played a game Friday in which they didn't give themselves at least a chance to win.

Fort Wayne managed seven hits, made three errors and struck out 11 times en route to a 6-1 series-opening loss to the Bowling Green Hot Rods in front of an announced crowd of 6,024 at Parkview Field. The loss snapped a seven-game home winning streak for the TinCaps.

“It was just a tough draw,” catcher Jalen Washington said. “I thought we competed the entire game. It wasn't the cleanest of ballgames, but we stuck around; we had bases loaded twice (in the fifth and ninth), but we were just missing that one big hit. That's just how the game is sometimes, and we'll bounce back tomorrow.”

Bowling Green (57-28, 10-6 second half), which had the best record in the Midwest League in the first half, took control in the second inning and didn't look back. TinCaps starter Mason Thompson labored in the inning, giving up three runs.

The big blow in the inning was a two-run single from first baseman Jim Haley that put the Hot Rods in front for good. The hit broke a string of 19 straight scoreless innings for starting pitchers going back four games for the TinCaps (43-42, 11-5).

Thompson didn't have his best stuff and struggled through five innings, giving up four runs, three of which were earned. He struck out seven without a walk, continuing to show good depth on his curveball, and he hit 94 mph with his fastball.

“Looking at (pitching coach) Burt (Hooton), I was like, 'Man, (Thompson) always seems to have one inning where it kind of gets away,'” manager Anthony Contreras said. “But when you dissect the (second) inning, it was like four soft hits. ... He was getting soft contact.

“Sometimes that's gonna happen, but for him to bounce back as a young pitcher and give us five innings like that is big. We just gotta make plays behind him to eliminate those big innings.”

The TinCaps put together a sustained rally only once, in the fifth inning. With one out and Jalen Washington on first, Jeisson Rosario lashed a double to left to put two runners in scoring position. After a pitching change, Robbie Podorsky roped a single back through the middle to bring in his team's only run and cut the deficit to 4-1.

After a walk to Tirso Ornelas loaded the bases, reliever Phoenix Sanders struck out Esteury Ruiz and Gabriel Arias to limit the damage and keep his team in front.

Sanders (4-1) had a dominant outing, pitching 22/3 scoreless innings and striking out six, including five in a row.

Ruiz's and Arias' strikeouts were emblematic of a TinCaps team that struggled in the clutch Friday. The home team went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base. Twice Fort Wayne put two on with nobody out but did not score.