FORT WAYNE – Casey McElroy just wanted to get a rally started.
He did a little more than that.
McElroy hit a go-ahead home run to right field – Fort Waynes second homer in the eighth inning – and the TinCaps held on for a 5-4 victory over West Michigan in front of 4,384 fans Tuesday at Parkview Field.
I really wasnt trying to hit (a home run). I just got a pitch that was up in the zone and tried to put a good swing on it, McElroy said. Luckily, the wind was blowing out for me.
Clark Murphy began the eighth with a home run that reached the TreeTops section in right field to tie the game at 4. McElroy then put the TinCaps ahead with a two-out solo home run.
It was a good inning for us, a great comeback, TinCaps manger Jose Valentin said. Murphy, that was a long one. He was aggressive. I dont think he was trying to hit a home run. He got it all.
Mac, I had a good feeling with him. Hes been consistent. He got a count 2-1. He got the head out and hit the shot for the go-ahead run.
Matt Stites retired the final two batters in the ninth as Fort Wayne (18-21) took three of four in the series against the Whitecaps (18-21).
Winning a series, thats what its all about, Murphy said. If we can win series, the momentum is going to build for us and it is going to be a good year.
Murphy became just the second player to reach the TreeTops section. Jaff Decker was the first to accomplish the feat in 2009.
In the on-deck circle, I was telling myself, Just find a pitch and be quick to it. The first pitch I saw, I connected, Murphy said. It felt good. It was nice and smooth. I got all of it, like I wanted to.
Melvin Mercedes retired the next two hitters. McElroy then put the TinCaps ahead with his team-leading fourth homer.
My whole at-bats during the day had been good, said McElroy, who was 1 for 4 with two RBI. I had been hitting the ball hard right at people. I was just trying to get a good swing and put it in play and get a rally started.
Its just the fourth multi-home run game for the TinCaps this season.
Donavan Tate, Tyler Stubblefield and Lee Orr each had two hits for Fort Wayne. Tate was activated from the disabled list Monday. He had been out since April 29.
He came back better than when he left, Valentin said of Tate. He got four great at-bats.
Daniel Cropper did not give up a hit in 1 1/3 relief innings to pick up the win and lower his ERA to 0.96. Stites earned his third save, helping the TinCaps to their eighth win in 12 games.
The last couple of weeks, weve been playing great baseball. Everybody is starting to put everything together, pitching, defensively. Were cutting our mistakes down defensively, Valentin said. And were getting clutch hits and good at-bats. Not only early in the game, but late in the game.