The TinCaps were unable to carry over the good feeling from their walk-off win Wednesday against the Lansing Lugnuts, falling to Lansing 7-4 tonight at Parkview Field, their fourth loss in five games.
The loss dropped the TinCaps (52-59) into last place in the High-A Central East Division, one game behind the Lugnuts.
Fort Wayne fell behind early as Lansing (53-58) made life difficult for right-hander Gabe Mosser in the second inning. Back-to-back singles put Mosser in a jam and after he retired the next two hitters, Patrick McColl and Jonny Butler turned in clutch RBI singles to give the visitors a lead they wouldn't relinquish. A wild pitch brought in a third run and Mosser's night ended after two innings.
The Lugnuts added two more runs in the third and again in the fourth off piggyback starter Gabe Morales to put the game out of reach.
Here are some more observations from tonight's game:
- The Lugnuts scored all seven of their runs after two were out. Adding insult to injury, the TinCaps could have had three outs before any runs scored in the second and the third, but a pair of bang-bang calls on stolen-base attempts went against them. The first time it happened, in the second inning, the throw from catcher Victor Duarte obviously beat Cobie Vance stealing second, but umpire Tom O'Neil ruled Vance had gotten in under the tag, leaving Fort Wayne's entire infield standing in disbelief for several seconds.
- Duarte was making his High-A debut after getting called up from the Arizona Complex League on Wednesday. In his first at-bat at the higher level, he hit a sharp infield single to the left side with the bases loaded and two outs, picking up an RBI. He hit just .176 in the Complex League, but went 2 for 4 tonight.
- Mosser struck out the first two batters of the game and got a half-dozen swing and misses on off-speed pitches in a 1-2-3 first inning, but needed more than 30 pitches to get through the second inning, his last.
- Lugnuts starter Reid Birlingmair pitched a season-high seven innings, giving up only four hits while striking out five and walking three. His two best starts of the season have come against Fort Wayne; in addition to tonight's performance, he pitched six shutout, one-hit innings against the TinCaps in May. The TinCaps chase him from a third start July 30 after only 2 1/3 innings and five walks.
- TinCaps outfielder Tirso Ornelas singled and scored in the second. He is working on a 10-game hitting streak.
- Fort Wayne reliever Chase Walter struck out four in two scoreless innings, including whiffing the side in a 1-2-3 seventh. In his previous two outings, he had given up three runs in 1 2/3 innings with six walks, a hit batter and four wild pitches. He walked one and hit a batter tonight.
- The TinCaps must win the final three games in the series to avoid going the entire season without ever winning 4 of 6 in a home series. Their only series victory at Parkview Field came by a 3-2 tally with a rainout.
- These teams will meet again Friday for the fourth game in the series. The TinCaps will send left-hander Danny Denz (0-1, 2.50 ERA) to the mound and Lansing will counter with lefty David Leal (0-4, 5.35 ERA). First pitch will be at 7:05 p.m. at Parkview Field.