The Great Lakes Loons (44-41) gave up 3 runs in the third, 3 runs in the fourth, followed by another 4-runs in the bottom of the sixth and 1-run in the second and eighth innings respectively, in a 12-3 loss to the Bowling Green (KY.) Hot Rods (Tampa Bay Rays) at Bowling Green Ball Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky tonight.
Just when Great Lakes shortstop Oneil Cruz (6) closed the gap with a solo home run, his sixth of the season to get the Loons to within 5-runs of the Hot Rods 7-2 in the top of the sixth, Bowling Green jumped all over reliever Chris Matthewson for another 4-runs in the bottom half of the sixth inning.
Matthewson gave up back to back singles to lead off the bottom of the sixth, which was followed by back to back errors by Cruz at shortstop and Brendon Davis at second, along with a double by Hot Rods' third baseman Michael Brosseau for an 11-2 Bowling Green lead.
The Loons would add another run in the top of the seventh when left fielder Mitchell Hansen reached on an infield throwing error, before scoring on an RBI ground rule double by first baseman Jared Walker to make it an 11-3 game.
Loons starter Imani Abdullah (0-1, 6.23 ERA) who is still on a pitch count since returning to the Loons from the DL, was charged with the loss after giving up 4-runs on 4-hits and 2-walks with 1-strikeout through 2 1/3 innings tonight.
The Loons had taken an early 1-0 lead when Cruz doubled to lead off the top of the second, then scored on an RBI double off the bat of third baseman Cristian Santana.
The Hot Rods responded with a run in the bottom half of the second when right fielder Jesus Sanchez singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch by Abdullah, then scored on an infield ground out to tie the game at 1-run apiece.
Bowling Green capped the night with another run in the bottom of the eighth to round out the scoring.
Matthewson (3.73 ERA) finished out the game and would go on to give up 8-runs (only 4 of which were earned) on 11-hits and 2-walks, while striking out 5-batters through 5 2/3 innings.
One bright spot offensively for the Loons is Santana, who continues to hit at a torrid pace, going 3 for 4 with an RBI to lead the offense tonight. Since joining the Loons on July, 1 the 20 year old international free agent from San Cristobal, Dominican Republic is 13 for 27 with a .481 batting average.
Cruz finished 2 for 4 with an RBI and 2-runs scored, including his sixth home run of the season.
The Loons will try to get back on track in game-2 of this 4-game series tomorrow evening at Bowling Green Ball Park.