Erik Cabrera retired the first batter he faced in his debut with the TinCaps on Monday.
The next six Bowling Green batters reached – and five of them scored.
Fort Wayne never recovered, falling to the Hot Rods 7-4 in front of 5,322 fans Monday at Parkview Field.
I bet he was a bit nervous. But he pitched better than the numbers showed, Fort Wayne manager Jose Valentin said. The defense kind of let him down a little bit. He got hit pretty hard, but he could have been out of the inning with less than the five runs.
It was a sloppy game. The TinCaps (25-18, 56-57 overall) had a season-high six errors to lose for the fourth time in five games.
When you’ve got a guy on the mound kind of struggling, you have to try to help him out. Play good defense, Valentin said. We can’t afford to play that kind of baseball with a team like Bowling Green. They won’t back down.
The Hot Rods (27-16, 65-48) won despite having five errors.
The first inning was the difference.
Cabrera stuck out Ryan Brett to start the game. Juniel Querecuto doubled and Drew Vettleson followed with a long home run to right field.
Jeff Malm and Josh Sale also had RBI hits during the stretch. Ten batters came to the plate in the inning.
Cabrera gave up seven runs, four earned, in four innings in his first start in the United States. The younger brother of Fort Wayne infielder Felix Cabrera (who is on the disabled list), he joined the team from Dominican Summer League Padres.
He wasn’t afraid. He was aggressive. He kept throwing strikes, Valentin said. But it was one of those days, they don’t miss too many pitches. They can hit. You have to give credit to those hitters.
The Hot Rods finished with 14 hits.
Travis Whitmore had three of the TinCaps’ eight hits.
Fort Wayne got within 7-4 when it scored twice in the seventh inning. The TinCaps brought the go-ahead run to the plate with one out in the inning.
Reliever Andrew Bellatti struck out Travis Jankowski. Jace Peterson then hit a shallow fly ball to center field. Kes Carter made a nice sliding catch to end the threat.
We were one hit away to make this game a lot more exciting than it was, Valentin said.
Note: Cabrera replaced infielder Tyler Stubblefield, who was placed on the disabled list a day after he was hit in the helmet with a pitch.