The TinCaps bowed to the High-A Central East Division-leading Great Lakes Loons on Tuesday night, falling 4-3 in the opener of a six-game series at Dow Diamond in Midland, Michigan.
The Loons are one game out of the final league playoff spot with 17 games remaining.
The game was knotted at 2 heading into the bottom of the eighth, but TinCaps reliever Chase Walter, who had pitched five scoreless innings with Fort Wayne (49-54) in his first three appearances with the club, could not find the strike zone. Walter walked four, hit a batter and unleashed a wild pitch, pushing across two runs for the Loons.
Walter had walked only one in his first five innings with Fort Wayne.
Zack Mathis led off the ninth with a home run for the TinCaps, Fort Wayne's only extra-base hit, but the next three hitters went down in order. Fort Wayne went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.
The TinCaps got four shutout, one-hit innings from left-hander Danny Denz, who lowered his ERA to 1.91 while striking out five.
Robert Hassell III, the 2020 No. 8 overall pick, singled in the fourth for his first hit at High-A.