Monday, September 03, 2018 6:20 pm
TinCaps fall to West Michigan, 3-2, miss playoffs
DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette
COMSTOCK PARK, Michigan –
How it Happened
Tied 1-1, neither the TinCaps nor the Whitecaps scored in the eighth or ninth innings, so the teams went to extras. In the 10th, Kelvin Melean started on second for Fort Wayne and Jeisson Rosario bunted him to third. The Whitecaps moved their infield in and Jack Suwinski rapped a sharp ground ball up the middle. Wenceel Perez made a diving stop and threw Suwinski out, but the run scored to put the TinCaps in front 2-1.
In the bottom half of the inning, however, right-hander Evan Miller struggled. He walked the leadoff hitter, and a wild pitch moved the runners up. An intentional walk loaded the bases and a single off Kelvin Melean's glove at second tied the game. The next hitter, Anthony Pereira, lined to right. Agustin Ruiz made a diving catch, but his throw home was off line and Brady Policelli scored to send the Whitecaps to the playoffs and the TinCaps home.
The TinCaps jumped in front four batters into the game. With one out, Whitecaps starter Jesus Rodriguez hit Suwinski. Suwinski moved to second on a ground ball, bringing Gabriel Arias to the plate. Arias grounded up the middle, where Perez fielded, spun (perhaps unnecessarily) and fired over first baseman Jordan Pearce's head for an error. Suwinski scored on the play to put Fort Wayne up 1-0.
TinCaps starter Tom Cosgrove made that lead stand up through the early innings. The left-hander did not post any 1-2-3 innings through the first four, but worked his way out of trouble in each inning. He picked off a runner in the third and struck out five in those first four innings. It was a consistent, solid performance, exactly what the TinCaps needed in such an important game.
In the fifth, Cosgrove struck out the first two hitters he faced and got the third to fly to right. Right-fielder Agustin Ruiz dropped the fly ball, however, and the inning continued. The next hitter, Brady Policelli, engaged in an epic 15-pitch battle with Cosgrove before finally walking to put two on. After all that, the left-hander got Perez to bounce right back to the mound for the third out, keeping Fort Wayne in front.
The Whitecaps finally broke through in the seventh with some small ball. Designated hitter Reynaldo Rivera opened the inning with a solid single to right and Eric De La Rosa sacrificed him to second. Rivera advanced to third on a wild pitch, forcing Fort Wayne to bring its infield in. Pinch-hitter Joey Morgan then ripped a ground ball up the middle where Kelvin Melean made a diving stop. Melean thought about firing home, but took the sure out to first instead and Rivera scored to make it 1-1.
Player of the Game: Tom Cosgrove
The left-hander had one of his best starts of the season when it mattered most. He went seven innings, gave up one run on seven hits and struck out seven while walking seven. It was just the second time this season he'd pitched seven innings and first since May 26. Over his final four starts of the season, the 22-year-old had a 1.13 ERA and struck out 29 in 24 innings. He got a tough-luck no-decision Monday.
Facts and Figures
The TinCaps missed the playoffs for just the second time in 10 seasons since moving into Parkview Field. ... This is the second time in four seasons the TinCaps have had playoff spot decided on the final day of the season. In 2014, former Norwell standout Josh VanMeter hit a tie-breaking three-run homer in the seventh inning to propel Fort Wayne to a 4-0 win. ... Fort Wayne finishes the regular season 64-74 and 27-43 on the road. ... Esteury Ruiz stole second in the fourth, his 49th steal of the season. He finishes the season as the Midwest League leader. ... Suwinski went 2 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI, his sixth multi-hit game in his last 10 contests. ... Cosgrove was the only TinCaps pitcher that was on the roster from Opening Day to the final day of the season. ... The game began with a 40-minute rain delay. ... Whitecaps first baseman Jordan Pearce was ejected in the second inning for arguing a check swing third strike call. ... Whitecaps second baseman John Valente went 3 for 5 with a double. He had at least one hit in 22 of his final 24 games this season.
The TinCaps open their 2019 season at Parkview on April 4 against the Lansing Lugnuts.