A ball was lost in the lights, the skies opened up, and Fort Wayne's win streak came to an end.
The TinCaps saw their three-game winning streak snapped with a 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Dayton Dragons in front of an announced crowd of 7,174 at Parkview Field on Saturday night.
The loss drops Fort Wayne (33-38) back into fifth place in the six-team High-A Central East Division. It still needs a win today to earn its first home series victory since the opening set of the season May 4 to 9 against West Michigan.
The TinCaps trailed by a run in the bottom of the ninth but threatened. Center fielder Reinaldo Ilarraza, who is in the top five in the league in steals with 25, walked and pilfered second. With one out, he also tried to steal third and was thrown out, taking the tying run off the bases. Later, with the tying run on first, Agustin Ruiz struck out to end the game.
The game was tied at 1 in the seventh, but on the first pitch of the inning, Dayton's Quin Cotton hit a fly ball to deep center. Ilarraza stood in place, palms upraised, looking for the ball, but it fell 25 feet behind his head, landing on the warning track and letting Cotton reach with a triple.
The Dragons took the lead on a sacrifice fly on the very next pitch and then saw their four ensuing hitters reach base against Fort Wayne reliever Felix Minjarez, bringing in two more runs to push the advantage to 4-1.
The TinCaps got a run back in the seventh when Luis Almanzar doubled and came into score on an Adam Kerner RBI groundout.
In the eighth, they rallied again. As Ethan Skender batted with a runner on first and two outs, heavy rain began pelting the stadium. As the drops fell, Skender laced a double down the right-field line, putting the tying run in scoring position. Before Almanzar could hit with a chance to tie the game, however, the umpires pulled the teams off the field as lightning flashed across the sky.
There was a delay of 33 minutes before Almanzar could hit. When he did, he crushed a hanging curveball high and far to left, but it twisted foul. The TinCaps got within a run when right-hander Ricky Karcher unleashed a wild pitch and Almanzar eventually walked, but Kerner struck out with the tying run on third to end the threat.
Ruiz drove in Fort Wayne's first run in the fourth with a ringing double off the right-field wall that scored Grant Little and knotted the score at 1.
The TinCaps walked eight times, giving them 17 bases on balls in the last two games.
Fort Wayne starter Erik Sabrowski went five innings and gave up one run on four hits with four strikeouts. His counterpart, Dayton's Jacques Pucheu, struck out nine TinCaps in five innings, including six of the first eight hitters he faced.
Note: Prior to the game, the TinCaps announced that a trio of players had been released: outfielder Jawuan Harris (.290 OBP, one home run, 22 runs scored), first baseman Seamus Curran (.353 OBP, three home runs, 18 RBI, reached base four times Friday) and catcher Andelson Arias.
TinCaps vs. Dayton
When: 1:05 p.m. today
Where: Parkview Field
Pitchers: RHP Carlos Guarate (TinCaps) vs. Carson Spiers (Dragons)
TV: Xfinity 81
Radio: 1380 AM, 100.9 FM