Tuesday, May 29, 2018 10:40 pm
TinCaps lose to Bowling Green, 7-5
DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette
How it Happened
Three times the TinCaps jumped in front and three times, they were unable to hold the lead. The final lost lead came in the ninth. Justin Lopez had put his team in front 5-4 with a clutch double in the eighth, but Fort Wayne couldn't get the final three outs. Reliever Jared Carkuff gave up a single and walked a hitter to open the inning and was promptly replaced by relief ace Travis Radke. Radke gave up a game-timing double to Taylor Walls, who had a huge game and later an RBI single. By the time the inning ended, it was 7-5 and Fort Wayne's chance to win was mostly gone.
As I wrote Monday, the TinCaps have made a living off of walks this year, part of an emphasis on patience and selectiveness that has permeated the San Diego Padres organization over the last few years. Fort Wayne started off Tuesday's game showing exactly how potent those free passes can be, when it scored a run without the help of a ball in play.
Two of the first three TinCaps hitters walked in the first and with two outs, they tried a double steal. The throw from the Bowling Green catcher sailed into center, letting Esteury Ruiz come around with the game's first run.
One inning later, Lopez made it 2-0 with a ball that was emphatically in play. The youngest player in the Midwest League launched a home run to right to lead off the inning, a blast on which the Bowling Green right fielder did not even move. Lopez's second homer of the season traveled 390 feet.
The top of the TinCaps' order was potent Tuesday, despite the absence of regular leadoff hitter Jeisson Rosario, who got the night off. His replacement at the top, Esteury Ruiz and No. 3 hitter Tirso Ornelas combined to get on base six times and were in the middle of a rally in the fifth that put Fort Wayne in front again after the Hot Rods tied the game at 2 in the third. Ruiz reached on a bunt single after Robbie Podorsky had singled and Ornelas drove both in with a ringing double to left to make it 4-2.
Aaron Leasher was unable to hold that lead either, though. A double and a single put two on in the top of the sixth and ended Leasher's night and reliever Will Stillman uncorked a ball to the screen on his first pitch, bringing in a run. Two pitches later, a single tied it at 4, ending Leasher's chances at a victory.
Player of the Game: Tirso Ornelas
Ornelas had an excellent all-around game, contributing in all three facets. He was nearly unstoppable at the plate, going 1 for 2 with two walks and the go-ahead RBI double in the fifth. His two RBI give him 19 this season, fifth on the team. Ornelas also stole a base in the first inning that drew a throw into center and let Ruiz score the first run.
In center field, a position he hasn't played often this season, he probably saved a run in the seventh when he came close enough to making a diving catch on a line drive with runners on first and second that the runners had to hold. When he didn't come up with it, he made a strong throw to third, making the play a very loud force out.
Facts and figures
This was the fifth straight game the TinCaps' opponent has been in first place. Fort Wayne is 3-2 in those games. ... Bowling Green pitching coach Brian Reith is a Fort Wayne native who pitched at Concordia and later played parts of four seasons for the Cincinnati Reds from 2001-04. ... TinCaps relievers pitched four innings and gave up three runs. Entering the game, Fort Wayne relievers had a 3.31 ERA in the last 31 games, after posting a 7.47 mark in the first 19 games. Stillman worked two scoreless, his longest scoreless outing of the season. ... Justin Lopez went 2 for 3 with a walk, double and homer. It was his first multi-extra-base hit game since May 3. ... Ruiz went 2 for 4 with a pair of singles and a walk. He also stole three bases, tying a career-high and has stolen five in the last two games. ... Taylor Walls came in fifth in the league in batting average for Bowling Green at .323 and went 4 for 5 with two doubles, a triple, two RBI and three runs scored. He hit the ball hard five times.
These teams will play again Wednesday in the second game of this series. First pitch at Parkview Field will be at 7:05 p.m.; it is the first Wednesday 7:05 start of the season at Parkview Field. The TinCaps will start ace Nick Margevicius (3-2, 2.35 ERA). The left-hander has pitched seven innings in two straight starts, including seven shutout with seven strikeouts in a win over West Michigan his last time out. The Hot Rods will go with right-hander Alex Valverde (3-1, 4.35 ERA).