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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, June 23, 2018 10:10 pm

TinCaps lose to Whitecaps, 3-2

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

How it Happened

The TinCaps trailed 3-2 when they mounted one final rally in the eighth inning. With one out, Jack Suwinski walked. He reached when second when Jeisson Rosario got hit by a fastball up-and-in. Esteury Ruiz struck out, but Tirso Ornelas walked to load the bases for the team's hottest hitter, Luis Campusano. The 19-year-old came in with three straight multi-hit games and was batting .333 since May 15. With the tying run on third, however, he grounded out, ending Fort Wayne's best chance to pull out a late victory.

TinCaps starter Luis Patino was excellent in the first inning, but the Whitecaps scratched out a run anyway. Brady Policelli led off with a soft single up the middle and stole second. With two outs, Reynaldo Rivera grounded to third and Ruiz threw the ball out of the reach of first baseman Nick Feight and up the first base line to allow Policelli to score the game's first run. In between the hit and the error, Patino struck out Jose Azocar on a 95 mph fastball painted perfectly on the outside corner.

The strikeout with the fastball was the first of many for Patino tonight. The 18-year-old right-hander commanded his heater with precision all night and complemented it well with his hard-breaking slider. In the second inning, Patino struck out the side, with all three hitters going down swinging late at fastballs. After establishing the fastball the first time through the order, the TinCaps hurler began throwing his slider more often the second time through and got some swings and misses with the breaking ball, as well.

Patino breezed through the second and the third, but ran into trouble in the fourth. He got two strikeouts after a leadoff single, but No. 9 hitter Alexis Garcia yanked a ball down the right-field line and raced all the way around for an RBI triple. On the next offering, Patino unleashed his third wild pitch of the game and Garcia trotted home to make it 3-0.

The TinCaps closed the gap in the middle innings, with Jeisson Rosario at the center of two rallies. In the fourth, Rosario led off the inning with a single and later scored Fort Wayne's first run on a triple by Ornelas. In the sixth, the home team sliced its deficit further, with Rosario putting scoring a run by himself. The center fielder again led off the inning and pulled a line drive fair down the right-field line for a double. When the right-field fumbled the ball in the corner, Rosario raced to third. Later in the inning, he dashed home after a wild pitch, pulling his team to within 3-2.

Player of the Game: Jesus Rodriguez

The Whitecaps starter put together one of his best outings of the year, pitching seven strong innings and giving up just two runs on six hits and not walking a batter. He came in striking out fewer than six hitters per nine innings, but whiffed seven in his seven innings tonight, including four of the final six hitters he faced. It was the second time Rodriguez has gone seven innings this season and he got the win to improve to 4-3.

Facts and Figures

The loss is the TinCaps' second of the second half. ... The Whitecaps led off with singles in each of the first four innings. ... Patino went four innings, giving up two earned runs and striking out seven. He has given up three earned runs and struck out 28 in his last five starts. ... Fort Wayne is 14-5 in its last 19 games at home. It is in the middle of a season-long 10-game homestand that spans the All-Star Break. ... Ornelas went 1 for 3 with a triple, a walk and an RBI, extending his on-base to 23 games. It's the second-longest active streak in the league and the longest by a TinCap this season. ... Rosario's had an extra-base hit for the second game in a row after not having any in the previous 11 contests. ... The Whitecaps' Alexis Garcia, hitting in the No. 9 spot, went 2 for 4 with a triple, an RBI and a run scored. The triple was his first extra-base hit since May 31. ... It was "Turn the Park Pink Night" at Parkview Field. The TinCaps wore pink jerseys to help raise awareness for breast cancer. For every pink jersey sold at The Orchard (the TinCaps' team store), $5 goes to the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer.

What's Next?

These teams will finish their four-game series Sunday with (weather-permitting) a doubleheader at Parkview Field. The first game will begin at 1:05 p.m. and the second contest will follow half an hour after the first. The TinCaps will send right-hander Mason Thompson (4-4, 5.30 ERA) to the mound in Game 1 and have yet to announce their starter for Game 2. The Whitecaps will counter with Brad Bass (4-4, 5.23 ERA) in the opener and Endrys Briceno (0-0, 0.00 ERA) in Game 2. Briceno will be making his first appearance in the Midwest League since 2013 after spending most of the last four years at High-A.

dsinn@jg.net