The Great Lakes Loons finished their three game series with the Lansing Lugnuts with a 9-6 loss at Dow Diamond Monday afternoon. Despite the loss, the Loons won the series taking the first two games on Saturday and Sunday. The Loons offense is proving to be effective as they put up 23 runs throughout the three game series with the Lugnuts.
Loons skipper Luis Matos was not happy with the loss, or how his starting pitchers have been performing since the all star break. He did, however, point to the importance of taking 2-out of-3 from Lansing, as well as how changing the batting order has resulted in more runs for the Loons.
“We lost today but at least we won the series and that's the important thing,” Matos said. “Our starting pitching is not doing as well as they were in the first half of the season. But, we are swinging the bats better lately. I needed to make some changes to the lineup a little because we weren't scoring as many runs, and now since we made the changes it's worked out because we're starting to put runs up.”
Alex Verdugo continued his Midwest League dominance with a home run and some nice defensive plays in center field. He echoed what Matos said about the lineup changes and was also happy for the series win against the Lugnuts.
“Our head coach switched up the lineups a bit, so it's definitely a new look,” Verdugo said. “So far, for the first three games of this series we put up a lot more runs than we normally do, and it felt like everyone was doing their job today. The pitchers left a couple pitches up in the zone that got hit -but that''s part of the game- so for the most part, as a team we all played well, and to take two out of three, we'll take that for now.”
Lansing made a pitching change in the bottom of the sixth inning which opened the door for a Loons rally. Alex Santana and Matt Beaty hit singles followed by a walk to Kyle Garlick which loaded the bases. Newcomer Nick Dean ripped an RBI single to score Santana but the Loons left the bases loaded to end their threat.
Verdugo homered to draw the Loons to within two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“I'm not sure, I don't know if I saw a slider or cutter,” said Verdugo. “I went up there just trying to get a basehit, you know a little single, and he left one middle-in for me and I put a good swing on it and fortunately it got out.”
Loons starter Matt Shelton (1-2, 6.21 ERA) allowed 8-runs (5 earned) off 7-hits, 3-walks, striking out five batters through six innings of work. J.D. Underwood gave up a solo home run in three innings of relief work.
Santana led the Loons going 2-for-4 with an RBI, double, walk, and three runs scored. Beaty was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Verdugo's fourth home run bolstered his .286 average.
The Loons head out to South Bend for three games before returning to Dow Diamond on Friday for six straight home games in a seven day period.