FORT WAYNE – A three-run eighth inning breathed life into the TinCaps during their game against Lansing at Parkview Field on Tuesday.
A crucial error by Diego Goris in the top of the 10th inning threatened to squash that momentum.
And then, a walk-off double by Goris gave Fort Wayne a 6-5 win, its first victory at Parkview Field since May 15.
It was a great comeback, TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said. It wasn’t the nicest one, but the way we are battling, trying to get out of this stretch where we kind of struggled, you gotta take wins no matter how.
Goris’ error on a routine grounder allowed a go-ahead run to score after the team’s late rally, but a Lansing error gave Goris a chance to redeem himself, and he did just that.
I like to see that happen, Valentin said. After you make a mistake, you’ve got to be ready in a situation when it’s time to go out there and get revenge. He did it.
The TinCaps (28-22) rallied from a three-run deficit the Lugnuts (21-27) built off starting pitcher Justin Hancock.
Hancock gave up three earned runs and seven hits in five innings, as well as one unearned run.
The Fort Wayne offense couldn’t provide its struggling starter any support after the bottom of the first inning, either.
Then, after two innings of scoreless relief from Matthew Shepherd, the TinCaps started connecting.
We’re playing better baseball, and that’s all that matters, designated hitter Jeremy Baltz said.
It was a big team win for us.
Sidearm hurler Will Browning gave up four hits and hit one batter during the rally, which woke up a crowd of 3,924 at Parkview Field and sent the game to extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, with two outs and men on first and second, a chopper came to Goris, who had made an error earlier in the game. With time to spare, he froze and didn’t attempt to move in front of the ball.
Goris went for the backhand, whiffed and a run scored.
That’s a sign right there of not being ready, Valentin said. You gotta be ready in that situation.
But in the bottom of the inning, with two outs, the Lugnuts had a similar miscue.
A sure-fire out on a popup by Jeremy Baltz dropped between the shortstop and left fielder. Dane Phillips stepped up with a single on the next at-bat and brought Goris to the plate.
The third baseman, who was 3 for 4, launched a double into the right-center gap, and his teammates swarmed the field.
He came up when it counted, Baltz said, and that’s all that matters.
Note: The TinCaps announced a roster move Tuesday that sent starter/reliever Ruben Mejia to the disabled list and brought pitcher Joe Church up from extended spring training.