The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, July 17, 2019 9:30 pm

TinCaps beat Peoria, 6-2, in first game after season-long road trip

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

How it Happened

The Chiefs wasted no time jumping on TinCaps starter Ryan Weathers. Brendan Donovan slapped the second pitch of the game the other way down the left-field line for a double and Delvin Perez followed with a single to left to put two on. First baseman Brady Whalen followed and chopped a slow grounder down the third-base line. TinCaps third baseman Ethan Skender thought about throwing home, but instead got the easy out at first and Peoria went in front 1-0.

The TinCaps quickly responded, however. In the bottom of the inning, Ethan Skender and Agustin Ruiz rapped back-to-back singles to put two on and Blake Hunt worked a nice at-bat for a walk to load the bases. The tying run came in to score on a passed ball as Chiefs catcher Ivan Herrera whiffed badly on a Kyle Leahy fastball. Justin Lopez then grounded softly to second for an RBI that put the TinCaps in front 2-1.

Fort Wayne wasn't close to down, however. After struggling on the road trip to hit with runners in scoring position, the TinCaps opened the third inning with five consecutive singles, including RBI hits from Hunt and Justin Lopez, the latter of which drove in two runs to make it 5-1. The TinCaps had a chance to really break the game open, but Luke Becker grounded into a rally-killing double play. A run scored on the play to make it a five-run advantage, but that was all Fort Wayne was able to get.

That was all it would need, though. After surrendering the early flurry, Weathers settled in and had his best start in quite a while. The left-hander did not give up another hit until the sixth, when Donovan led off with a towering home run to right-center, his eighth long ball of the season. The blast made it 6-2, but Weathers retired the next three hitters in order to complete an excellent start. His command wasn't pinpoint, but he was consistently sitting 92 mph with his fastball and dropping 76-78 mph curveballs. He looked strong throughout the outing and was efficient.

The late innings flew by as neither team caused much trouble offensively. TinCaps reliever Cody Tyler made quick work of the Chiefs in the seventh and eighth and Jose Quezada worked a perfect ninth to finish off the victory.

Player of the Game: Blake Hunt

Hunt has been one of the TinCaps' best hitters recently and he stayed red-hot tonight. The catcher went 1 for 1 with an RBI, run and three walks. It was the second time Hunt has walked three times in a game this season and first since May 10. He had been 1 for 16 in his previous four games following an 11-game hit streak that ended July 6.

Facts and Figures

These teams both entered the game in last place in their respective divisions. The Chiefs came in with the worst second-half record in the Midwest League (4-20). ... Weathers worked six innings, his longest start since April 22, giving up two runs on three hits, while striking out five and walking one. He got the win, his first since April 16, to improve to 3-4. ... Lopez went 2 for 4 with three RBI, giving him 33 knocked in this season. ... Skender and Ruiz each had two hits and scored twice for the TinCaps. ... The loss stops a stretch of six losses in seven games for Fort Wayne. ... The TinCaps bullpen retired nine hitters in a row to finish the game and Fort Wayne pitching as a whole retired 19 of the final 20 Chiefs hitters (Donovan's home run was the only exception). ... The game was the first for Fort Wayne at Parkview Field in 12 days, following a season-long nine-game road trip. 

What's Next?

These teams will play again Thursday in the second of a three-game series at Parkview Field. First pitch will be at 7:05 p.m. The TinCaps will send 20-year-old right-hander Sam Keating (3-6, 5.55 ERA) to the mound. Keating is coming off a start in which he gave up two homers and five runs in 2 2/3 innings while hitting four batters. The Chiefs will counter with 21-year-old left-hander Colin Schmid (3-5, 4.79 ERA).

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