FORT WAYNE – Seth Conner grounded one up the middle and TinCaps second baseman Fernando Perez had to glove it above his head on a bad hop.
Perez tried to flip it to Josh VanMeter for the force but couldn’t put anything on the throw.
Just like that, Lansing had runners on first and second with one out, and the TinCaps’ 1-0 lead was hanging in the balance.
They went on to lose 4-3 in 10 innings, but the TinCaps got encouragement from what happened after that weird play on the infield.
It got worse before it got better.
After Payton Baskette induced a routine fly ball, he walked Chaz Frank on a 3-2 delivery. Trouble. Bases loaded.
Baskette, battered in his previous start, faced a tipping point. Would this outing be remembered as a positive or a negative?
The answer was not in doubt after Baskette got a weak pop-up and another fly to escape unscathed.
“Things sometimes don’t go your way,” he said. “It’s about bearing down when they don’t.”
Baskette said he knew his pitch count was up and he halfway thought the fifth inning would be his last. It turned out it was, and the TinCaps were sure thrilled to see him finish with five scoreless innings.
Baskette lowered his ERA to 3.53.
“The most pleasing thing was he had runners on and was able to pitch around that,” TinCaps manager Michael Collins said. “With five zeros, he gave us every chance to win the game.”
TE-HOT-A: Collins had a little bit of a hard time explaining the amazingly hot hitting of Luis Tejada, who reached safely nine times in 13 plate appearances in the series with Lansing. Tejada drove in a run in all three games.
“I’m sure he’s comfortable,” Collins said. “He was riding that wave of confidence. He looks like he’s on every pitch.”
Tejada, who played first base early in the year, said he has made a comfortable transition to the outfield because he played it growing up in the Dominican Republic.