Four team errors plagued the Great Lakes Loons (42-37) as they dropped an 8-3 decision to the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers) in front of 4,113 fans at Dow Diamond tonight.
The Loons took an early lead when recently acquired first baseman Jared Walker (a fifth round draft pick of the Dodgers in the 2014 MLB draft who also spent 9-games with the Loons during the 2016 MWL season) homered in his first at bat for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
The Loons added another run in the next inning when second baseman Gersel Pitre doubled to drive in catcher Keibert Ruiz who had led off the inning with a double to give the Loons a 2-0 lead through two innings.
The Whitecaps took advantage of back to back errors by another recently acquired player, Loons third baseman Cristian Santana (who made an incredible diving play but overshot first base) scoring two runs in the top of the fifth inning to chase starter Leo Crawford with one out.
Santana, a 20 year old infielder from San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, was signed as an international free agent as a 16 year old in 2014 and spent 2-years playing for the Dodgers in the Dominican Summer League before playing in the Arizona Rookie League last year.
Loons reliever Miguel Urena came in and gave up another 3-runs for a 5-2 West Michigan lead in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Crawford (4-6, 4.12 ERA) was charged with the loss after giving up 3-runs on 2-hits and 2-walks, while striking out 7-batters through 4 1/3 innings.
Great Lakes shortstop Gavin Lux roped a lead off triple then scored on a sac fly RBI off the bat of right fielder Carlos Rincon to make it a 5-3 game in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The Whitecaps added two more runs to take a 7-3 lead in the top of the sixth inning when Urena ran into some trouble after another infield error, this one by Lux at shortstop. Urena (2.14 ERA) was replaced by Sven Schuller after giving up 4-runs (2 of which were earned) on 2-hits and 2-walks, through 1 1/3 innings of relief.
West Michigan third baseman Zac Shepherd led off the top of the eighth with a walk, then scored on an RBI single from right fielder Cole Baumi for an 8-3 Whitecaps lead midway through eight.
Schuller (1.49 ERA) allowed 2-hits and 3-walks, while striking out 2-batters through 1 1/3 innings, and Andre Scrubb (1.61 ERA) replaced him, giving up 1-run on a hit and a walk, while striking out 2-batters through 1-inning.
Closer Nolan Long (3.60 ERA) struck out two of the three batters he would face as he closed out the ninth inning for the Loons.
Ruiz was 3 for 4 with a walk and 1-run scored to pace the Loons offense tonight. Lux was 1 for 3 with 2-walks, as Walker, Rincon, Santana, Pitre, and left fielder Mitchell Hansen each had 1-hit respectively.
Now split at 1-game each with the Whitecaps, the Loons will look to gain an advantage in this 4-game series in game-3 tomorrow afternoon at 2:05 pm at Dow Diamond.