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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, July 22, 2018 6:30 pm

TinCaps fall to Clinton, 7-5, in first game of doubleheader

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

How it Happened

The TinCaps trailed 3-0 in the bottom of the second inning when play began today. Clinton had scored three runs on a collection of miscues during a steady rain in the top of the second Saturday night before the game was suspended, forcing Fort Wayne to play catch-up all game.

Fort Wayne began its comeback in the third inning. With two outs and a runner on first, Jeisson Rosario got to two strikes before dropping a perfect bunt down the third-base line for a single. Luis Campusano and Esteury Ruiz followed with back-to-back RBI singles, bringing in two runs and making it 3-2 in favor of Clinton. The TinCaps have had few big hits of that nature during their rough stretch over the last two weeks, so it was encouraging to see two in the same inning.

The score did not remain close for long. TinCaps "starter" Aaron Leasher (he came on in relief after the game resumed today) struggled with his command most of the afternoon and it came back to bite him in a laborious fifth inning. Center fielder Ariel Sandoval led off with a line-drive rocket into the stands in left for his 14th homer of the season. A walk and a single followed and a throwing error on second baseman Esteury Ruiz brought in another run. Keegan McGovern followed with an RBI single and then another walk ended Leasher's day. The left-hander threw 35 pitches in the fifth alone and every hitter was a battle. By the time reliever Jose Quezada retired the side, Fort Wayne trailed 7-2.

The TinCaps got a few back in the sixth, loading the bases with nobody out on two walks and a single. A wild pitch brought Esteury Ruiz home and a ground ball off the bat of Luis Almanzar scored another run to make it 7-4. Fort Wayne had a chance to get more, putting runners on first and third with one out, but Robbie Podorsky popped up and Kelvin Melean struck out swinging to end the threat. Melean slammed his bat on the ground after his at-bat.

The TinCaps picked up another run in the seventh on a single from Nick Feight after Luis Campusano had ripped a double to left-center. Fort Wayne went quietly in the eighth and ninth, however.

Player of the Game: Keegan McGovern

The Clinton left-fielder went 3 for 5 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI. He used some heads-up baserunning to steal a run in the second inning, breaking for home while there was a rundown between first and second. The 22-year-old has three multi-hit games in his last six. 

Facts and Figures

The TinCaps have lost a season-high seven games in a row at home and 11 of their last 13 overall. ... Fort Wayne scored more than two runs for just the second time in its last eight games. ... Left-hander MacKenzie Gore took the loss despite not pitching today because he started the game Saturday before it was suspended. ... TinCaps reliever Jose Quezada was making his first appearance with Fort Wayne and second in pro baseball. Quezada was drafted out of Texas Tech in the 10th round of the 2018 draft. The right-hander pitched 2 1/3 shutout innings, striking out three and giving up just one hit. ... Sandoval's 14th home run moved him into fifth in the Midwest League in that category. The ball left his bat at 99 mph. ... Luis Campusano went 3 for 5 with a double, a line drive to the gap in left-center that left his bat at 105 mph. He also scored a run. ... The teams combined for six errors in the game, three for each side.

What's Next?

The TinCaps and LumberKings will play again this afternoon in the second game of their doubleheader. The game will last seven innings – because of minor-league doubleheader rules – and begin at about 4:35 p.m. The TinCaps will start left-hander Osvaldo Hernandez (7-3, 2.09 ERA), the Midwest League ERA leader. Hernandez has pitched six shutout innings in two of his last three starts.