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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The TinCaps' Robbie Podorsky races to second base during the third inning Saturday night against Lansing. Podorsky had two hits, raising his batting average to .368.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The TinCaps' Aaron Leasher pitches during the game against the Lugnuts at Parkview Field on Saturday.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The TinCaps' Esteury Ruiz leads off as the Lugnuts' Chad Spanberger covers first during the third inning at Parkview Field on Saturday.

Sunday, August 05, 2018 1:00 am

Lansing 5 TinCaps 3

Reliever fails to hold lead, loses in his debut

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

TinCaps vs. Lansing

Where: Parkview Field

When: 3:05 p.m. today

Pitchers: Ben Sheckler (TinCaps) vs. Graham Spraker (Lugnuts)

TV: Xfinity 81

Radio: 1380 AM, 100.9 FM

Reiss Knehr found out he was being promoted to the TinCaps from rookie ball at just past midnight Saturday morning. Less than 24 hours later, the right-hander was taking the Parkview Field mound for his Midwest League debut.

That sounds like a scene with a storybook ending, but Knehr's first TinCaps appearance did not go as planned.

The 21-year-old Fordham alum entered in the seventh inning with the TinCaps a run in front. He surrendered three runs, including a mammoth two-run homer to the Lansing Lugnuts' Chavez Young, sending Fort Wayne to a 5-3 loss Saturday in front of an announced crowd of 7,755.

Knehr (0-1), a 2018 Padres draftee who pitched 12 games in rookie ball before his promotion, needed 31 pitches to complete the seventh. He walked two and gave up two hits.

The tying run scored on a Jesus Navarro ground ball to first, bringing Young to the plate with the go-ahead run on second.

The designated hitter worked the count full and then launched his sixth home run 426 feet to right-center, providing Lansing its winning margin. 

“(Knehr) obviously has the ability to do some things, but he has to get his feet wet,” manager Anthony Contreras said. “Obviously rookie ball to here is a different level. ... These are good hitters that made him pay when he had to come back over the plate, but he just needs to get some more experience under his belt, and hopefully it's a better result next time.”

The TinCaps (51-59, 19-22 second half) took an early lead on a third-inning RBI single from Esteury Ruiz, but Lansing (65-47, 22-20) right-fielder Ryan Noda blasted his 15th homer of the season in the fourth to put his team up 2-1. 

Fort Wayne responded in the bottom of the fourth, two singles and a walk to load the bases with one out. A passed ball tied the game and then Robbie Podorsky lined a single to right to give the TinCaps a 3-2 lead. Podorsky had two more hits, his second straight multihit game after missing five contests in a row with a back injury.

His .368 batting average leads the Midwest League.  

“It feels great (to be back in the lineup),” Podorsky said. “Sitting out kind of sucks, it's kind of boring. My back's still giving me a little bit of trouble, but it's not stopping me from playing.”

Podorsky said he's been suffering “severe back spasms,” which means that while he is in some pain, he can't make the issue worse by playing all out. He said he spends a lot of time in the trainer's room before and after games.

“I'm managing,” he said, smiling and laughing.

A pair of Lansing relievers, lefty Brody Rodning and right-hander Dany Jimenez, retired the final 14 TinCaps hitters in a row, precluding any thought of a late comeback.

“I don't know (what Lansing's pitchers) did, to be honest,” Podorsky said. “They found ways to get us out, they made the adjustments and it worked tonight.”

Note:Before the game, the San Diego Padres promoted TinCaps reliever Travis Radke to Double-A San Antonio. The 25-year-old Radke was a Midwest League All-Star and had a 1.74 ERA and 14 saves in 35 games with the TinCaps.

dsinn@jg.net