The Great Lakes Loons (55-56) made a late rally in the ninth, scoring 1-run and loading the bases, however, it would not be enough as the Loons dip below .500 with a 3-1 loss to the Fort Wayne Tincaps (San Diego Padres) at Dow Diamond tonight.
Loons third baseman Cristian Santana led off the bottom of the ninth with a double, then scored on a Carlos Rincon RBI-single to get the Loons to within 2-runs (3-1) of the Tincaps, before loading the bases with 2 more walks in the inning, but it was too little too late, as Great Lakes dropped its third straight in this home stand.
The Tincaps wasted little time getting to Great Lakes starter Carlos Felix early when second baseman Reinaldo Ilarraza blooped a 1-out single to right center field, advancing to second when Rincon dropped the ball after fielding it in right field, then scored on an RBI-double from Fort Wayne DH Jorge Ona for a 1-0 Tincaps lead in the top of the first inning.
The struggles continued for Felix in the top of the second when Fort Wayne right fielder Jack Suwinski led off with a double, then scored when Tincaps No. 9 hitter Buddy Reed lined an RBI-single to center field, scoring Suwinski for a 2-0 lead midway through two innings.
Felix settled in over the next couple of innings, giving up just 2-runs (1-unearned) on 6-hits and 1-walk, while striking out 6-batters through 4-innings.
Fort Wayne starter Michel Baez (a 6-foot-8 220-pound, Cuban RHP who was signed as an international free agent by the Padres in 2016 for a $3 million dollar signing bonus, which came with a 100% luxury tax, charged to the Padres for exceeding the 2016 international free agent pool limit, making his overall price tag $6 million) dominated the Loons with his fifth victory of the season tonight.
Baez (5-0, 0.74 ERA) allowed just 4-hits and a walk, while striking out 9-Loons batters through 7-scoreless innings.
The Tincaps extended its lead when former Detroit Tigers' OF, Damion Easley's son, Nate (a left fielder for Fort Wayne) walked to lead off the top of the eighth inning, was moved to second on a sac bunt, then scored on an RBI-single by catcher A.J. Kennedy for a 3-0 lead.
Loons middle reliever Ryan Moseley replaced Felix and looked very good for the second straight game, allowing just 2-hits and 2-walks, while striking out 3-batters through 2 2/3 innings of relief.
Loons reliever Vinny Santarsiero replaced Moseley and gave up 1-run on 1-hit and 1-walk, through 1 1/3 innings, while James Carter allowed just 1-walk, while striking out 2-batters to close out the ninth inning.
Just 3-Loons batters accounted for the teams 6-total hits, while stranding 16-base runners tonight.
Santana finished 3 for 4 and scored the only run to pace the Loons' offense tonight, while Rincon was 2 for 4 with 1-RBI.
Great Lakes shortstop Gavin Lux was 1 for 3 with 1-walk, accounting for the only other Loons hit, while also making a highlight play in the field tonight.
The Loons will now look to take at least 1-game from the Tincaps when the series wraps up tomorrow night at Dow Diamond.