Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The TinCaps' Esteury Ruiz hits the ball during the game against the Dragons at Parkview Field on Saturday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The TinCaps' Osvaldo Hernandez pitches the ball during the second inning at Parkview Field on Saturday.
Saturday, April 21, 2018 5:10 pm
TINCAPS 8, DAYTON 2
TinCaps end Dragons' 9-game winning streak
JOSH PATTERSON | For The Journal Gazette
Tirso Ornelas’ first-inning, three-run home run off the top of the center-field wall gave the TinCaps a lead they wouldn’t relinquish Saturday in an 8-2 win over the Dayton Dragons at Parkview Field.
“I think any time we can give ourselves a little bit of a cushion, especially for our starter, that always helps out and gets the confidence up,” TinCaps manager Anthony Contreras said. “It just gets us steamrolling for the rest of the game.”
The win halted a two-game slide for Fort Wayne (5-11) while also stopping a nine-game win streak for Dayton (9-4).
A four-run sixth broke things open for the TinCaps, capped by a two-run home run from Ruiz, who had three hits, into the second row of the bleachers in left field that put the hosts up 8-1.
Fort Wayne starting pitcher Osvaldo Hernandez earned his first win of the season. While the 20-year-old Cuban didn’t turn in a 1-2-3 inning, he did strike out six Dragons, while scattering five hits and allowing a single run in his five innings of work.
Hernandez did start to tire in the fifth as he approached 80 pitches, but he showed some heads-up defense during his final inning. Working out of the stretch with Dayton’s Narciso Crook on second, he fielded a one-out comebacker and kept Crook from advancing to third.
“For him to keep his head in the game when he’s getting to the end of his pitch count, it shows what kind of competitor he is,” Contreras said. “When we can get an out like that, that’s a good thing for us to see fundamentals played the right way.”
The top of the Fort Wayne order started rolling from the outset. Jeisson Rosario walked to lead off the game, then stole second – the first of two stolen bases on the day for the 18-year-old Dominican – before advancing to third on Esteury Ruiz’s single to left.
Ruiz followed Rosario’s lead with a steal of second, and both runners ambled home on Ornelas’ blast, which traveled 399 feet. In all, Fort Wayne’s top three batters reached base 10 times Saturday.
Rosario manufactured his own run for Fort Wayne in the fifth. After Dayton struck back for a single tally in the top of the inning, Rosario singled to center. Dayton starter Tyler Mondile caught Rosario straying off first base in an effort to steal second, but the TinCaps runner dove to the ground to elude the tag.
Rosario then scampered back to first base, arriving safely after the relay throw was dropped.
Though Carlos Belen struck out four times, his one-out grounder to short plated Rosario for Fort Wayne’s fourth run.
“Usually those type of plays right there are 99 percent an out,” Contreras said. “When you can get someone to do a Houdini act like that, it gives us a breath of fresh air and shows us things are going well.”
Notes: Rosario, who entered Saturday’s game fourth in the Midwest League with an on-base percentage of .500, improved upon that mark by going 2 for 4 with a walk. ... The game took 3:01 to play with a game-time temperature of 56 degrees and an announced crowd of 3,816… Nearly two dozen fans purchased “Pooch Passes” for their dogs on the first of two “Bark In The Park” promotional dates this season. The other such game will take place Aug. 5.