FORT WAYNE – Donavan Tate was in the batting cages at Parkview Field more than an hour after Wednesday’s game, working on his swing.
Thursday, the extra hours paid off. Tate went 2 for 3. He singled and scored the eventual go-ahead run in the eighth inning as the TinCaps defeated Burlington 6-2 in front of 3,237 fans at Parkview Field.
Burlington resident Travis Whitmore drove in three runs for Fort Wayne (8-13).
He hit a two-run home run in the first inning. He then knocked in Tate with a single to right field in the eighth.
Late in the game, we were getting better at-bats, TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said. Whitmore is one of those guys for us, he’s been the best hitter of the year. He got behind the count 0-2, worked the count to 3-2 and got a pitch to drive and got a big hit in that situation.
Whitmore’s single was the start of a four-run inning.
Duanel Jones followed with a two-run single to left field.
With two outs, Austin Hedges hit a pop-up in front of the plate. Catcher Nick Rickles dropped the ball, and Jones came around from second for the final run.
Fort Wayne received strong pitching from starter Frank Garces and three relievers.
Garces allowed two runs on five hits. Burlington’s (10-11) two runs came in the first inning. Sean Jamieson tripled and scored on a double by B.A. Vollmuth. Dusty Robinson brought Vollmuth home on a ground out.
Fort Wayne tied the game with Whitmore’s two-run homer in the bottom of the inning. Whitmore leads the team with two home runs and 12 RBI. He also is in the top 10 in the Midwest League with a .352 batting average.
Garces settled in after the rough first and finished with seven strikeouts.
Johnny Barbato, Daniel Cropper and Matt Stites did not allow a hit in the final four innings. Cropper pitched a scoreless eighth to earn the victory.
Whitmore, Jones and Tate each had two hits. Tate’s average went from .183 to .203.
I think he was trying too hard. He’s been too aggressive and not selective, Valentin said. Today, the last two at-bats he was great.
Overall, we played a great game.
Note: Hedges was activated from the disabled list, and catcher Jeremy Rodriguez was sent to extended spring training in Peoria, Ariz. .