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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette TinCaps starter Tom Cosgrove ended up going six innings, allowing just one run, to get the victory Wednesday night at Parkview Field.

Thursday, August 30, 2018 1:00 am

Tincaps 3, Lake County 1

TinCaps get boost back home

Victory helps playoff position with just five games left in season

ELIZABETH WYMAN | The Journal Gazette

TinCaps vs. Lake County

Where: Parkview Field

When: 7:05 p.m.

Pitchers: Joey Cantillo (TinCaps) vs. Francisco Perez (Captains)

TV: Xfinity 81


It's been nearly two weeks since fans at Parkview Field witnessed a TinCaps game. After 11 straight games on the road, the team returned home for their final regular-season three-game home series, playing a crucial game Wednesday in front of a crowd of 4,776.

In the push for the playoffs, the TinCaps' 3-1 win over the Lake County Captains (26-38 second half, 55-79) inches them closer to securing the final playoff spot in the Eastern Division.

“Everybody that's in the clubhouse knows what we have to do to make the playoffs and make a playoff push,” TinCaps starter Tom Cosgrove said. “I think it's just staying consistent every day not get to high or too low.”

The TinCaps (31-33, 63-70) hold a one-game lead over West Michigan – which also won Wednesday night – and are now just 21/2games behind Great Lakes for the division title.

Cosgrove picked up a timely third win as he went six innings, giving up seven hits and one run.

“I haven't had many wins this year, but I just keep pitching and it feels good to pull out a win when we need it,” Cosgrove said. “I think I filled up on the counts at some points and I was just able to get myself back in a rhythm and make pitches when I needed to.”

Cosgrove's curveball was cooking early, and TinCaps manager Anthony Contreras said the pitch is getting better in each of his outings.

“When he has confidence with the curveball, that's when he has a good outing,” Contreras said. “He's been improving every single time he goes out there. He's been able to get us to the fifth and six inning mark pretty consistently.”

Between injuries and roster overturn, Contreras said they'll look to Cosgrove, the only pitcher that's remained with the team all season. The news broke Wednesday morning that star pitcher Luis Patiño and reliever Dylan Coleman would be shut down for the season, sending them to the Arizona League Padres in rookie ball.

“It's unfortunate that they have to shut those guys down, but it is minor league baseball and those guys did a tremendous job getting us to this point,” Contreras said.

“But we have to protect their careers in the long term, and it gives guys like Cosgrove and others opportunities to step up.”

One TinCap who's made his presence known in the five games he's been with the team is catcher Michael Cantu. The 23-year-old hit Fort Wayne's only home run of the night, a shot to center field in the bottom of the second inning.

“He has some reputation behind him of being a big guy and steady catcher. He works hard and you see the way his personality is contagious in this clubhouse,” Contreras said. “We need extra energy like that, especially for these guys who have been here all season, to carry us hopefully into the postseason.”

Fresh off hitting for the cycle Monday, Gabriel Arias committed two errors Wednesday. The shortstop has made numerous errors this season, but he also makes plays most shortstops couldn't.

Contreras is OK with that.

“Anytime you can get that type of accomplishment on top of an organization and for a prospect like Arias to get that, it's huge motivation for him going to the end of the season,” Contreras said. “Gabe's a tremendous talent, and he's done a great job this last month and a half. We take the good with the bad and hope the good keeps continuing.”

The TinCaps look to be in strong shape as they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with West Michigan, which they play in the final three games of the season.

Cosgrove has an easier idea for clinching the playoff spot.

“If we win all six, (the tiebreaker) is not that important to us, but we'll see,” Cosgrove said.