So close and yet so far.
That has been the story of the current homestand for the TinCaps, who dropped yet another tight game Friday against Lake County.
Fort Wayne was unable to come up with a big hit all night and spoiled an excellent start from right-hander Matt Waldron, falling 3-1 in front of an announced crowd of 4,948 at Parkview Field.
It was the eighth loss in nine games for the TinCaps (24-33), and they are 2-5 on this homestand in games decided by two runs or fewer.
“We're not hitting, we're not scoring enough runs,” manager Anthony Contreras said. “If I knew the reason (for the close losses), I would probably try to correct it or figure it out. But I couldn't really pinpoint anything. We're playing good teams, they're getting us out.
“We were competitive today, obviously kept the game close, we just need the timely hitting, get base runners on late in the game and get that big hit.”
After TinCaps slugger Agustin Ruiz led off the bottom of the eighth with a walk, the final six Fort Wayne hitters were retired, including four by strikeout.
The TinCaps struck out 14 times in all and went 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position.
Waldron completed seven innings for the second straight appearance, making him the first TinCaps pitcher to go seven innings in more than one start this season. He struck out five and walked one, two starts after walking seven.
“It feels great,” Waldron said of pitching deep into the game. “It's something you look back on, you can't get too ahead of yourself when it's happening or you can jinx it a little bit. Every inning's a new challenge, and it adds up toward the end.”
The 24-year-old right-hander retired the last six hitters he faced, including three by strikeout, and his final pitch was his hardest of the night, a 93 mph fastball.
Waldron made only one mistake. With a runner on and two outs in the third, he grooved a fastball to Captains right fielder George Valera, who hit a two-run homer to left-center to put Lake County in front 2-0.
“I tried to sneak a fastball over,” Waldron said. “He's a good hitter, and I left it too much over the plate. I need to execute that pitch better.”
The TinCaps scored their lone run in the fourth. With runners on the corners and two outs, Adam Kerner broke for second. When the throw went there, Grant Little dashed to the plate from third, scoring before Kerner was tagged out in a rundown.
Notes: The TinCaps announced that lefty reliever Danny Denz had been activated off the injured list. Denz has not yet made his pro debut after signing as an undrafted free agent with the Padres out of the University of Memphis in 2020. ... Komets broadcaster Shane Albahrani was a guest broadcaster in the TinCaps' radio booth.
TinCaps vs. Lake County
When: 6:35 p.m. today
Where: Parkview Field
Pitchers: RHP Gabe Mosser (TinCaps) vs. RHP Hunter Gaddis (Captains)
TV: Xfinity 81
Radio: 1380 AM, 100.9 FM