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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette TinCaps shortstop Justin Lopez dives into first base during the fifth inning Monday night against Bowling Green at Parkview Field. Lopez had reached on an infield single.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette TinCaps starter Ryan Weathers went six shutout innings and struck out six in Fort Wayne's 3-1 loss to the Bowling Green Hot Rods on Monday at Parkview Field.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 1:00 am

Bowling Green 3 TinCaps 1

Hot Rods rally in 9th, spoil TinCaps' brilliant pitching

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

TinCaps

vs. Bowling Green

Where: Parkview Field

When: 12:05 p.m.

Pitchers: Ramon Perez (TinCaps) vs. Joe Ryan (Hot Rods)

TV: Xfinity 81

Radio: 1380 AM, 100.9 FM

The TinCaps were three outs away from a win. Then Ford Proctor got in the way.

The Bowling Green leadoff hitter came into Monday's game with just one home run in more than 330 plate appearances as a pro, but he lofted a two-run go-ahead blast down the left-field line in the ninth inning to lead the Hot Rods to a 3-1 victory in front of an announced crowd of 2,721 at Parkview Field.

The TinCaps (9-8) led 1-0 going into the ninth inning and had piggyback starter Angel Acevedo on the mound. The right-hander had already thrown a scoreless seventh and eighth in relief of starter Ryan Weathers, but he walked the leadoff man in the ninth.

Proctor stepped to the plate next, hitless in three at-bats to that point and slugging a dismal .288 for the season. On a 2-2 count, he launched a fly ball into the corner in left field and it hit the railing above the wall there, reaching home run territory by just a few feet and putting Bowling Green (10-8) in front.

The Hot Rods added another run later in the inning off reliever Carlos Belen to provide the final margin, though Belen hit 97 mph with his fastball.

Weathers, the TinCaps' top prospect, had his best outing of the season, tossing six shutout innings and giving up just one hit, a single to fellow top 100 prospect Wander Franco. The 19-year-old left-hander struck out six and walked one to lower his ERA to 1.59, though he got a no-decision. The 2018 No. 7 overall draft pick said he felt he could have kept going after throwing 76 pitches.

“I went inside with the fastball a lot,” Weathers said. “I was starting to spot it really well. Tonight for some reason my (velocity) was up and got some bad swings on the inside. Then just playing my slider off that fastball, I felt like I had good rotation on (the slider).”

Weathers was particularly impressive in the third inning, striking out the side in order and finishing the job with a 95 mph fastball up and in to dispatch right fielder Bryce Brown. The lefty faced the minimum 18 hitters through those six innings.

“His best (start) that I've seen overall,” manager Anthony Contreras said. “He controlled all three pitches and he (faced) the minimum. That's what you expect from a No. 1 draft pick.”

The TinCaps scored their only run in the seventh, when Agustin Ruiz broke a scoreless tie with a single to right through a drawn-in infield that scored Dwanya Williams-Sutton.

Fort Wayne seemingly had a run in the fifth when Justin Lopez came home from third on a Xavier Edwards fly ball, but the umpire ruled Lopez had missed the plate on his slide and Lopez was called out on an appeal, to the TinCaps' surprise.

“Once the (outfielder) was throwing into the cut-off guy, I knew he didn't have a play,” Contreras said. “My head wasn't even turned fast enough (toward home), but (plate umpire Ben Rosen) said (Lopez) slid to the side of the plate and thought he rubbed his hand across the plate, but I guess he missed it.”

Fort Wayne went in order in the ninth after falling behind.

Note: Before the game, the TinCaps announced that mascot Johnny TinCap will pay a visit to Byron Health Center, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Johnny will visit residents individually, pose for photos and sign autographs.

dsinn@jg.net