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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 10:10 pm

TinCaps beat Loons, 7-5: Quick thoughts

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

How it Happened

The TinCaps (3-9) got off to a blazing start, jumping all over Great Lakes starter Melvin Jimenez in the bottom of the first. The first five Fort Wayne hitters reached against Jimenez and all five eventually scored, part of a six-run frame that knocked Jimenez out after just 1/3 of an inning. Once again, the TinCaps rallied without a big hit, scoring all of their runs on singles and walks, without any extra-base knocks in the frame. 

When the inning was finally over, 35 minutes after it began, Fort Wayne led 6-0 and 12 batter had come to the plate. Leadoff hitter Jeisson Rosario walked twice in the inning, picking up both a run scored and an RBI. 

Fort Wayne starter Nick Margevicius did more than enough to hold the lead over the next several innings, getting into a few minor jams, but no runs. He was particularly adept at locating his fastball high and away and getting swings and misses with it, while keeping the hitters off balance with an occasional curve. The left-hander struck out six through his first four innings.

The TinCaps added a run in the fifth thanks to some heads-up baseball from Rosario. The leadoff hitter walked again to lead off the inning and then stole second. The throw from the catcher went into right field, allowing Rosario to reach third and later score on a ground ball to put Fort Wayne in front 7-0. It was the ninth run he's scored this year.

Margevicius got through the fifth, but in the sixth the Loons (2-7) finally broke through. The southpaw walked his first hitter of the season to put two on with one out. The free pass brought Fort Wayne native Zach McKinstry to the plate and on an 0-1 pitch the left-handed hitter sent a home run over the wall in right field, closing the gap to 7-3. The ball left McKinstry's bat at 104 mph and traveled 348 feet for his first long ball of the season. 

Both bullpens were solid tonight, keeping the offenses in check in the late innings. Left-hander Travis Radke was terrific for the TinCaps, tossing 2 2/3 innings in relief of Margevicius and striking out the side in the seventh and eighth. He finished with seven punchouts total without giving up a run. 

Loons first baseman Nick Yarnall completed the scoring with a two-run homer off of Adrian Martinez in the ninth. The ball traveled 330 feet and came off his bat at 93 mph.

Player of the Game: Zach McKinstry 

The Loons shortstop is a North Side alum who is now in his third season with the Dodgers organization. He played in Double-A last year and has been raking early this season. That continued tonight as the left-handed hitter went 3 for 4 with a homer and two singles, raising his batting average to .428. He drove in three runs, giving him four RBI this year.

Facts and Figures

The loss is Great Lakes' fifth in a row. The Loons hadn't played since last Thursday after all three of their games over the weekend were canceled because of weather. ... The TinCaps walked just one hitter tonight. After walking a season-high 13 hitters in a loss to Lansing last week, Fort Wayne pitchers have averaged fewer than two free passes over the last four games. ... Monday, April 16, was the anniversary of the day in 1972 that TinCaps pitching coach Burt Hooton threw a no-hitter for the Cubs at Wrigley Field against the Phillies. ... Game-time temperature was 37 degrees. ... Jimenez threw 32 pitches in 1/3 of an inning, with just 12 going for strikes. He walked three, hit a batter, gave up three hits and allowed six runs. ... Great Lakes reliever Marshall Kasowski walked the first two hitters he faced and then struck out six TinCaps in a row over the next three innings. ... Rosario entered the game walking in 20.5 percent of his plate appearances and took three free passes tonight, giving him 11 for the season. ... The announced attendance was 2,516. 

What's Next?

The TinCaps and Loons will continue their three-game series tomorrow at Parkview Field. First pitch will be at 11:05 a.m. Left-hander Aaron Leasher (0-0, 4.32 ERA) will start for Fort Wayne, while right-hander Edwin Uceta (0-0, 4.50) will take the mound for Great Lakes.