Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette The TinCaps' Jack Suwinski hits a home run into right field during the third inning against Bowling Green at Parkview Field on Sunday. Later that inning, Jeisson Rosario got an RBI triple down the right-field line.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Robbie Podorsky of the TinCaps dives back to first base before Devin Davis of Bowling Green can tag him out during the third inning.
Monday, July 09, 2018 1:00 am
Bowling Green 4, TinCaps 3
9th-inning HR dooms TinCaps
Suwinski's solo shot wasted; Fort Wayne drops 3rd straight
DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette
vs. Bowling Green
Where: Parkview Field
When: 7:05 p.m.
Pitchers: MacKenzie Gore (TinCaps) vs. Austin Franklin (Hot Rods)
TV: Xfinity 81
Radio: 1380 AM, 100.9 FM
As TinCaps reliever Travis Radke delivered to Ronaldo Hernandez in the ninth inning of a tie game Sunday, a fan in the upper reaches of the Parkview Field stands bellowed, “swing!”
Hernandez obliged, launching a hanging changeup from the Fort Wayne left-hander 410 feet to left-center for a go-ahead home run. It was one of the catcher's four hits and sent the Bowling Green Hot Rods to their third straight win in the series, 4-3, in front of an announced crowd of 4,523.
It was the second straight game the TinCaps have lost by one run, with the Hot Rods pushing across the winning tally in the late innings on both occasions. Sunday's loss dropped Fort Wayne out of first place in the Eastern Division.
“You have to find ways to stay positive,” said left-fielder Robbie Podorsky, who had two hits, an RBI and a run scored. “If you just focus on the negative, this game will eat you up. We've run into some bad luck, but we are still competing and that is the positive, so we're going to keep our heads up and keep playing hard.”
Part of that bad luck is being forced to face Hernandez, who has been one of the best hitters in the league all season. The Hot Rods catcher won the Midwest League Home Run Derby, and his 14 homers, including Sunday's blast that left his bat at 107 mph, rank second in the league. He finished 4 for 4 with a walk.
“(Hernandez) did pretty much what he's been doing all season,” TinCaps manager Anthony Contreras said. “Hernandez is a good power hitter and that's not the first time he's done that, obviously. When you make a mistake against a good hitter like that, he'll make you pay.”
Bowling Green (59-28, 12-6 second half) took an early lead against Fort Wayne starter Aaron Leasher, who didn't have his best stuff. No. 9 hitter Eleardo Cabrera ripped a two-run double to deep center in the second inning to put the TinCaps in a 3-0 hole. The two-bagger was one of a season-high 11 hits Leasher surrendered in just 41/3 innings.
Fort Wayne (43-44, 11-7) bounced back in the third. With one out, Jack Suwinski got a hanging breaking ball down and in and yanked it out to right field for his fifth home run of the season.
Later in the inning, Podorsky singled and Jeisson Rosario drove him in with a triple down the right-field line. It was Rosario's second triple in as many games and his seventh hit in the series. He has bounced back nicely after a semi-slump in June.
“(Rosario)'s just that type of talent where you're going to through your ups and downs as a baseball player, but it's how quickly you can get out of it,” Contreras said. “He's very stubborn in his zone at the plate, which allows him to take better swings and make better contact.
“Sometimes things don't go your way, but if you stick to your process, you'll find your groove again.”
Outside of the home run Radke surrendered, the TinCaps' bullpen was excellent, giving up only the one run in 42/3 innings. One of the relievers who kept Fort Wayne in the game was 2018 fourth-round draft pick Dylan Coleman, who pitched 12/3 scoreless and hit 96 mph with his fastball. He was the first 2018 draftee to pitch for the TinCaps.