FORT WAYNE – A day after Fort Wayne got its biggest win of the year, it suffered its worst loss.
The TinCaps were shut out, and their pitching staff dominated, by a Lake County team that was 21 games under .500 before an 11-0 clobbering Wednesday at Parkview Field.
The loss ended a nine-game winning streak for Fort Wayne, which had won 15 of its last 16 entering Wednesday. The TinCaps were shut out for the first time since failing to score in two seven-inning games against South Bend on May 23.
All this after clinching a Midwest League playoff spot Tuesday.
It’s just one of those days when nothing went that good for us, TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said. We only got five hits. I think out of all five hits, one of them was a good one.
Fort Wayne (40-24) gave up seven runs in the fourth inning, a season-high for an inning. The TinCaps pitchers also surrendered a season-high four home runs.
And the home team committed three errors, which allowed four unearned runs and compounded the problem Lake County’s 13 hits caused.
They put a lot of runs on the board, Valentin said. It’s one of those days where everything they hit, they find holes. We don’t make the pitches when we have to. We elevated the ball today.
TinCaps starter Bryan Rodriguez went 4 2/3 innings, giving up nine hits, five earned runs and two home runs. Reliever Matthew Chabot gave up a pair of home runs, as well, and two earned runs on three hits.
Lake County (21-41) starter Dylan Baker went 6 2/3 innings, giving up two hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
Reliever Josh Martin needed just 19 pitches to get through the next 1 1/3 innings and gave up one hit. Louis Head gave up two more in the ninth before it ended.
I don’t know if the guys just pretty much went up there after we clinched yesterday, Valentin said. We still got to go up there and play baseball. Every day, you have to come up here and play hard and win as many games as you can.
Fort Wayne gave up double-digit runs for the fourth time this season, and the Captains became the third team to do so.
Against the worst team in the Midwest League Eastern Division, the TinCaps suffered their largest losing margin of the year.
Valentin made it clear after the win Tuesday that he would not allow his team to coast. That mindset, despite Wednesday’s result, remains ironclad.
We cannot take anything for granted, Valentin said. We showed up to just play the game of baseball, but not try to win the game.
Like I said, sooner or later, it’s one of those days that’s going to come up. Hopefully, this is the first and the last.