FORT WAYNE – Colin Rea hadn’t won at Parkview Field all year, but he looked right at home Wednesday, pitching the TinCaps to a 3-1 victory over West Michigan in front of 5,014 fans.
The right-hander gave up one run on two hits in six innings. Those were the only two hits the Whitecaps had.
That was one of the best performances I’ve seen from him all year. He was unbelievable, Fort Wayne manager Jose Valentin said. He just made the pitches when he needed them. He had composure on the mound, had a lot of strikes (and) worked down in the zone.
The victory, combined with Bowling Green’s 6-4 loss to South Bend, put the TinCaps in a tie for first in the Eastern Division with the Hot Rods.
Rea (4-7) entered Wednesday’s game 0-4 in 15 appearances (10 starts) at Parkview Field. He had a 4.18 ERA.
He didn’t give up a hit until there was one out in the fifth inning against the Whitecaps (22-13, 58-57 overall).
Getting ahead early with the fastball really helped, Rea said. They are pretty aggressive hitters. That always helps keep the pitch count down, too.
Rea said he wasn’t aware of the early no-hit bid.
I didn’t really know it because I had a few walks before that, said Rea, who had four walks and four strikeouts. Guys were on base. I never knew there was not a hit.
Rea bounced back nicely from his previous start, when he gave up six runs (two earned) in 2 1/3 innings last Thursday at South Bend. That was his shortest outing as a starter this season.
I kept my composure on the mound and didn’t try to do too much with certain pitches, Rea said. I stayed within myself and used our defense.
Luis De La Cruz struck out two in two scoreless relief innings. Matt Stites also had two strikeouts in one inning of work to earn his 11th save.
Fort Wayne (27-18, 58-57) produced just enough offense. The TinCaps had three hits.
Baseball is kind of weird. Sometimes you get 12 hits and only score one run and you get beat, Valentin said. And sometimes you get three hits and get three runs.
The TinCaps’ first two hitters in the lineup – Travis Jankowski and Jace Peterson – had a role in all three runs.
We know that as the top of the order, if we can get on base, it’s a lot easier to win, Peterson said. We’re just trying to put our team in a good position.
Fort Wayne’s first run came without the benefit of a hit. Peterson reached in the first inning on a throwing error by catcher Gabriel Purroy.
Peterson stole second and moved to third on a passed ball. He scored when Mike Gallic hit a sacrifice fly to center.
Two of the TinCaps’ hits came in the third inning. Kyle Gaedele walked and then scored on a triple to right field by Jankowski. Peterson drove in Jankowski with a single.
Sometimes it’s not how many hits, it’s when you can get them, Peterson said. We got them in the situations when we needed them.