The Journal Gazette
Friday, August 09, 2019 1:00 am

TinCaps 6, Dayton 2

TinCaps stay hot, making late surge

7th win in last 8 games; Solomon drives in 3 runs

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Winning is just getting too easy for the TinCaps.

Fort Wayne won for the seventh time in eight games Thursday, pulling away with a four-run sixth inning and getting three RBI from Lee Solomon to emerge with a 6-2 victory in front of a raucous announced crowd of 7,885 at Parkview Field.

The win clinches the fifth straight home series victory for the TinCaps (53-61, 20-26 second half) and ties them for sixth place in the Eastern Division with the Dragons (49-67, 20-26). 

“We've got a good chemistry going in the clubhouse,” catcher Blake Hunt said. “Pitching staff, position players, everyone's vibing together well. Plus it makes baseball more fun. If you go 1 for 4 and you lose, it's not as fun as if you go 1 for 4 and you win. ...

“That's what it's about. Hopefully, we're going to get hot enough to make a little playoff push here.”

With the South Bend Cubs' win over Lansing on Thursday, Fort Wayne remains five games out of the final Eastern Division playoff spot.

The game was tied at 2 into the sixth inning when Fort Wayne erupted against reliever Andy Fisher. Hunt led off with a double to left. A walk and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases with one out.

That brought up Tyler Benson, and he grounded sharply to the right side. The throw went to second for a force, but it was low and everyone was safe, sending Fort Wayne in front for good.

Solomon then delivered the big blow in the inning, ripping a first-pitch line drive single to right-center that drove in two runs. Benson later scored the fourth run of the inning to make it 6-2 when catcher Jay Schuyler tossed an attempted pickoff throw at third into left field.

Solomon had a big night at the plate, adding a second-inning solo home run to his RBI single. The towering fly traveled 369 feet to right field, his third homer of the season, and it gave Fort Wayne a 2-0 lead.

“I know (starting pitcher Lyon) Richardson has a good, mid-90s fastball,” Solomon said of his home run. “I figured he'd attack me, and I was looking for one of those (fastballs) elevated, I put a good swing on it.

“It was a good way to start the night.”

The TinCaps first baseman finished 2 for 4.

Fort Wayne starter Efrain Contreras retired the first 10 hitters he faced and struck out eight in five solid innings. He gave up two runs, though only one was earned. 

The Fort Wayne bullpen was superb after Contreras' exit. Jose Quezada worked two scoreless innings, striking out four, and Cody Tyler tossed two perfect innings to finish the victory.

All told, TinCaps pitchers struck out 14. The bullpen has thrown 72/3 scoreless innings in this series.

After struggling to find consistency for four months, Fort Wayne has seemingly found a groove that works.

“(Manager Anthony Contreras) asked me in the meeting (Thursday), 'Do you remember what you did in May?'” Solomon said. “I said, 'No.' It's the last month, you want to leave a good impression. ... We've just turned the page collectively, and we've come out played really good baseball.”

TinCaps vs. Dayton

Where: Parkview Field

When: 7:05 p.m.

Pitchers: Cullen Dana (TinCaps) vs. Adrian Rodriguez (Dragons)

TV: Xfinity 81

Radio: 1380 AM, 100.9 FM

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