The longest losing skid in organization history has finally been halted at 13-games, after the Great Lakes Loons (1-9 second half, 25-53 overall) put up 1-run for each of its previous losses with a 13-6 victory over the top team in the Midwest League, the Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays) in front of 3,513 on a blisteringly hot evening to close out the month of June at Dow Diamond tonight.
Lansing SS Kevin Vicuna (2) tagged Loons starter Edwin Uceta with a solo home run in the top of the first inning to give the Lugnuts a 1-0 lead, but Great Lakes responded when recently promoted third baseman Luke Heyer (an eighth round pick of the Dodgers in this summer's 2018 MLB draft out of the University of Kentucky) reached on a 2-out double, then was driven in when DH Carlos Rincon (7) crushed a 2-run home run, his seventh of the season, for a 2-1 Loons lead in the bottom of the first inning.
The Lugnuts managed to tie the game in the next inning when third baseman Jesus Navarro drove in Lansing RF Norberto Obeso with a sac fly RBI, knotting the game at 2-runs apiece in the top of the second inning, however, the Loons would answer the call yet again with another 2-out rally when catcher Garrett Hope reached on a 2-out walk and SS Moises Perez followed with a single; which led to an RBI-double by LF Brayan Morales to score Hope, before another Loons newcomer, CF Josh McLain (a ninth round pick of the Dodgers in the 2018 MLB draft out of North Carolina State University) drove in both Perez and Morales with a 2-RBI single for a 5-2 Great Lakes lead in the bottom of the second inning.
The Loons added to its lead in the third when first baseman Brock Carpenter (2) jacked his second home run of the year, a solo shot over the left-center field wall at Dow Diamond for a 6-2 Great Lakes lead in the bottom of the third inning.
Uceta (2-5, 4.33 ERA) picked up his second win of the season after giving up just 2-runs on 7-hits and 2-walks, while striking out 5-batters through 5-innings.
Great Lakes extended its lead with a big 4-run inning when Heyer led off the fifth with a single, which was followed by back to back walks to Rincon and Loons second baseman Brandon Montgomery to load the bases, before Carpenter drove in the trio with a bases-clearing double, advancing to third base on a throwing error and eventually scoring on an infield ground-out off the bat of Loons RF Romer Cuadrado for a 10-2 Loons lead in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Loons reliever Austin Hamilton ran into some trouble after replacing Uceta to start the sixth when Obeso reached on a fielding error, followed by a single from Lansing LF Freddy Rodriguez, before back to back wild pitches by Hamilton allowed Obeso to score, as Rodriguez moved to third base then scored on a ground-out by Navarro to cut the Loons' lead to 10-4 in the top of the sixth inning.
The Loons responded with another 3-runs when McLain doubled to lead off the bottom half of the inning, moved to second on a single by Heyer, then scored on an RBI-single off the bat of Montgomery, while Heyer moved to third, before Cuadrado drove in Heyer with an RBI-single and Montgomery eventually scored after Hope had reached on a fielding error for a 13-2 Great Lakes lead in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Hamilton (3.38 ERA) gave up 1-earned run on 3-hits through 2-innings of relief, before he was replaced by Dan Jaggiello (2.63 ERA) who surrendered 3-walks, but managed to get out of the eighth inning unscathed.
Loons closer Yeison Cespedes gave up a solo home run to Lansing CF Chavez Young (4) to lead off the final inning, before walking Brandon Grudzielanek, who was driven in on an RBI-single by Lansing catcher Ryan Gold to cut the Great Lakes lead to 13-4 in the top of the ninth.
Cespedes (7.36 ERA) finished out the game after giving up 2-runs on 2-hits and 1-walk, with 1-strikeout to close out the ninth inning.
Heyer was 3 for 5 with 3-runs scored and Carpenter finished 2 for 5 with 4-RBI's to pace the Loons offense, followed by McLain, who was 2 for 4 with 2-RBI's and 1-run scored, while Rincon finished 1 for 2 with 2-RBI's, 2-runs scored and 3-walks, as 8 of the 9 Great Lakes batters had at least 1-hit for a team total of 12-hits and 6-walks tonight.
The Loons will now look to split with Lansing in the final game of this 4-game home series with a 2:05 pm game against the Lugnuts at Dow Diamond tomorrow afternoon.
Highlights of the Loons vs Lansing Lugnuts June 30, at Dow Diamond: