How it Happened
For the third straight game over the last two days, Fort Wayne took an early lead. The Hot Rods helped them do it, as all three runs the TinCaps pushed across in the second inning were unearned. With two outs and the bases empty, shortstop Gabriel Arias lashed a line drive just fair inside the first-base line and into the corner for a double. Nick Feight followed with a walk, but Luis Almanzar grounded to third, which looked like it would end the inning.
Instead, the Almanzar's grounder took a bad hop and skipped past third baseman Jim Haley, letting Arias come around to score and knot the game at 1. On the next pitch, Jack Suwinski, who had four hits in Sunday's doubleheader, turned on a fastball and launched it off the wall in right, bringing in two runs and putting Fort Wayne in front 3-1. Suwinski has done a much better job of getting the bat out on fastballs recently and it showed on the RBI hit, which turned into a triple, his third of the season.
The Hot Rods got a single run in the second when Midwest League Home Run Derby champion Ronaldo Hernandez blasted his 11th long ball of the season 345 feet to left field. Outside of that mistake, however, Nick Margevicius was his usual solid self. The left-hander struck out exactly one hitter in each of the first five innings, and gave up just three hits outside the home run. His curveball was as good as it's been all season and he located his fastball with his usual precision.
Fort Wayne effectively put the game away in the sixth, putting together another two-out rally that was helped by a couple of Hot Rods errors. With the bases empty and two away, Suwinski grounded back up to the pitcher, but reached when reliever Jhonleider Salinas threw low to first. Salinas then hit Jeisson Rosario, bringing Robbie Podorsky to the plate. Podorsky grounded to third and raced toward first, using his speed to force Haley to rush the throw, which went up the right field line, letting both TinCaps runners score and pushing their lead to 5-1.
Player of the Game: Nick Margevicius
Margevicius was not even close to being intimidated by the Hot Rods, who came in with the second-highest-scoring offense in the league. The 6-foot-5 left-hander worked seven innings, giving up just the home run to Hernandez. He struck out five and walked none, extending his league-leading K/BB rate. He threw 94 pitches, 67 for strikes. It was the second straight start he'd pitched seven innings and he's gone at least five in every outing since April 29.
Facts and Figures
The Hot Rods had won 14 of their last 15 games coming in. ... Tirso Ornelas went 0 for 3 with a walk, extending his on-base streak to 26 games. That's the longest streak by a TinCap this season and the second-longest active streak in the Midwest League (Lake County's Tyler Friis has a 28-game active streak). ... The start was Margevicius' first time on the mound since he pitched a scoreless fourth inning at the All-Star Game. ... Hot Rods first baseman Devin Davis battled Margevicius for 13 pitches before popping to second in the second inning. ... In the fifth inning, Luis Campusano lined a single to left field. The ball left his bat at 110 mph, the hardest-hit ball by a TinCap this season. ... All five Fort Wayne runs were unearned. ... Rosario reached base four times, walking three times and getting hit once. It was his sixth three-walk game of the season. ... All-Star reliever Travis Radke pitched two scoreless innings in his first appearance of the second half. He struck out one. ... Bowling Green pitching coach Brian Reith is a Fort Wayne native and former Concordia standout who went on to pitch three years in the major leagues.
These teams will meet again Tuesday for the middle game of the three-game set at Parkview Field. First pitch will be at 7:05 p.m. The TinCaps will send All-Star starter Aaron Leasher (3-3, 2.77 ERA) to the mound for his first start with the TinCaps since May 29. The Hot Rods will counter with right-hander Tobias Myers (8-3, 4.63 ERA), who is tied for the league in wins.