FORT WAYNE – Fort Wayne manager Jose Valentin called it one of the best pitching performances of the year.
Unfortunately for the TinCaps, he was referring to Burlington pitcher Sean Murphy.
Murphy struck out 13 TinCaps in a 3-1 Bees’ victory in front of 2,759 fans Wednesday at Parkview Field.
Fort Wayne struck out a season-high 16 times to lose for the third time in four games.
“Yes, we struck out a lot, we didn’t execute early in the game. (But) you have to give credit to their pitcher,” Valentin said. “He had great command, he wasn’t missing with his pitches. His changeup was his best pitch. It was just a tough game today.”
Nine of the 16 strikeouts were looking.
“It was a combination of his stuff, (and) the guys were a little frustrated with the ump’s zone, but you really can’t make excuses for that,” said catcher Matt Colantonio, the only batter in Fort Wayne’s lineup to avoid striking out. “After the first couple of batters and you see that he has an extended zone, you really have to bear down with two strikes.
“Murphy was really using his off-speed pitches really well and just used the ump’s zone to his advantage. He located fastballs away and his off-speed was down in the zone.”
Fort Wayne (7-13) pitchers also took advantage of the wide zone, striking out 11 Bees (10-10). Starter Cody Hebner had seven strikeouts.
He had one costly stretch in the fifth inning. With two outs, he walked Royce Consigli and then hit Bobby Crocker with a pitch. Douglas Landaeta followed with a three-run home run to left field.
“I made three mistakes right in a row and paid for it,” Hebner said. “It was a rough one. I threw a 3-2 slider that I should have thrown a fastball with two outs and I walked (Consigli). I tried to overthrow and I hit (Crocker), and then I threw a curveball in the dirt, a fastball he fouled it back, and I thought I could beat him, and (Landaeta) hit a moon shot.”
Note: TinCaps relief pitcher Daniel Sarria was placed on the disabled list, and Daniel Cropper was added to the roster from Double-A San Antonio.
Jace Peterson had two of Fort Wayne’s six hits. The TinCaps fell to 2-5 at Parkview Field.