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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, April 22, 2018 4:40 pm

TinCaps 7, Dayton 6: Quick thoughts

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

How it happened

Neither offense threatened in the first few innings, as both starting pitchers were sharp early. Adrian Martinez, though pitching at a snail's pace, struck out five in the first two innings without giving up a hit. He picked up a sixth whiff in the third, but not before Dayton (9-5) finally broke through.

Martinez got the first two outs, with some help from catcher Juan Fernandez, who threw out a runner stealing third, but the third out proved elusive. A walk and a steal put a runner on second for Montrell Marshall, who drove a long fly ball to the left-center gap. Left-fielder Tirso Ornelas seemed to have a chance at the ball, but came up a step short and the ball bounced off the warning track for a ground-rule double, driving in the game's first run.

Later in the inning, third baseman John Sansone added a two-run single to left-center, putting the Dragons up 3-0. Martinez finally struck out Narciso Cook to end the inning, but that was the final hitter he faced.

The TinCaps' offense remained punchless into the fourth, but in that inning the Dragons gave the home team some help. Luis Campusano reached on an error and then Carlos Belen walked to put two on. Juan Fernandez followed with a bouncer to short that shortstop Jose Garcia tried to toss to third for the forceout. Sansone wasn't paying attention at third and the ball went past him to the dugout, scoring Campusano with his team's first run. Jack Suwinski followed with a grounder to first and Marshall tried to throw the ball home to cut off the run, instead allowing everyone to reach and the run to score. A sacrifice fly made it a three-run inning, knotting the score at 3 without a hit for Fort Wayne (6-11).

Once again, however, the TinCaps' bullpen was unable to keep an opponent off the board. After pitching a scoreless fourth, right-hander Henry Henry walked the first two in the fifth and unleashed a wild pitch. A throwing error from Fernandez at catcher scored one run and a second wild pitch from left-hander Fred Schlichtholz brought in another run. Schlichtolz struck out three in a row to escape without further damage, but the inning ended with Dayton leading 5-3.

As it has repeatedly this week, the offense again came to the TinCaps' rescue. In the fifth, Carlos Belen singled in a run and Fernandez roped a two-run double down the left-field line, each with two out, and Fort Wayne went in front for the first time at 6-5. The rally got a boost from Tirso Ornelas, who singled to left on a perfectly executed hit-and-run.

The seesaw game continued when the Dragons tied the game with a run in the sixth, but the TinCaps jumped right back in front in the bottom half. Reinaldo Ilarraza lined a single to right and the ball ate up right fielder Michael Beltre, bouncing all the way to the wall. Beltre then threw wildly back to the infield, and Ilarraza circled the bases for the go-ahead run, 7-6. Two errors on the play gave Dayton four miscues in the game and seven in the series after the Dragons had had none in the previous set against South Bend.

Right-hander Jared Carkuff pitched 3 1/3 innings of scoreless ball, striking out one to get the win and give Fort Wayne a series victory.

Player of the Game: Montrell Marshall

Despite his team's loss, Marshall continued his hot start to the season with a huge game. He came in slugging just .359, but doubled twice, driving in a run with each two-bagger. He now has six doubles this season, three coming in this series. He also walked and scored twice. 

Facts & figures

The TinCaps wore San Diego Padres uniforms for the Sunday home game, continuing the tradition started last year. ... Ornelas and Esteury Ruiz combined for three hits after collecting six Saturday. ... Martinez, taking upwards of 25 seconds between most pitches, pitched three innings, giving up three runs with six strikeouts in his first start in the Midwest League. He hit 94 mph with his fastball. The Dragons stole four bases against Martinez, who is also slow to the plate. ... Fort Wayne finishes its homestand 4-2 after winning back-to-back series. ... The TinCaps are above .500 (6-5) since an 0-6 start. ... Fort Wayne reliever Henry Henry came in with a 20.25 ERA in four appearances and gave up two runs in one inning of work. ... Garcia's throwing error in the fourth inning was his fourth throwing error in the series after he had three in Friday's game. ... Belen's RBI single in the fifth gives him 10 RBI this season and four in the series. ... Time of the game was 3 hours and 15 minutes... TinCaps mascot Johnny celebrated his 10th birthday at the game.

What's next?

The TinCaps will now repeat their homestand opponents, but on the road. This week, they'll take on the Great Lakes Loons in a four-game series and then see the Dragons again for a three-game weekend series in Dayton. The Loons (3-10) are in last place in the league's Eastern Division.