The Great Lakes Loons (58-62) put together two big innings to get back on the winning track with a 12-2 victory over the Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays) at Dow Diamond tonight.
Leading 11-2 with 1-out in the bottom of the eighth, Loons center fielder Cody Thomas added the cherry on top of the sundae when he drilled a triple off the right field wall at Dow Diamond, before he was driven in on an RBI-single off the bat of catcher Connor Wong for the Loons' twelfth run of the game.
It was the fourth hit, and third RBI of the evening for Wong, who says he's seeing the ball better lately, while admittedly struggling since moving up to single-A, after being drafted in the third round by the Dodgers, 100 overall, in the 2017 MLB draft out of the University of Houston.
“I've been seeing the ball better over the last few games,” Wong said. “We just talk about getting our pitch, you know, get your pitch and put your best swing on it.”
Early on, Lansing had jumped on Loons starter Dustin May for 1-run in the top of the second after Lugnuts catcher Javier Hernandez roped a 1-out double off the right-center field wall, advanced to third on a wild pitch by May, before he was driven in on an RBI-single off the bat of shortstop Kevin Vicuna for a 1-0 Lugnuts lead.
The Loons answered in the bottom half of the second inning when Thomas worked Lansing starter Andy Ravel for a 6-pitch walk, then scored when Wong laced an RBI-double down the left field line to tie the game at 1-run apiece through 2-innings.
The Great Lakes hitters seemed to figure Ravel out in the bottom of the third, when left fielder Saige Jenco and shortstop Gavin Lux led off with back to back singles, followed by an RBI-double by right fielder Starling Heredia, scoring Jenco for a 2-1 lead, before Thomas hit a sac fly RBI to score Lux from third for a 3-1 Loons lead.
May walked the first batter in the top of the fifth, then gave up a single to put runners at the corners, before the Lugnuts managed to score the runner from third on an infield ground-out to get to within 1-run of the Loons (3-2) midway through five innings.
The Loons exploded for 5-runs in the fifth inning off Lansing reliever Griffin Glaude when Jenco led off with a walk, moved to third base on a single by Lux, before Lux stole second to put runners at second and third as Jenco then scored on a sac fly RBI off the bat of Jeren Kendall for a 4-2 Great Lakes lead with 2-outs.
After Heredia struck out for the second out of the inning, Thomas followed with a walk and moved to third base when Wong roped an RBI-single to drive in Lux for a 5-2 lead, before Jared Walker (2-RBI double) and Nick Yarnall (RBI-double) cleared the bases with back to back 2-out doubles for an 8-2 Loons lead after five innings.
In what began to look like a repeat of the fifth inning, Jenco led off with a walk and Lux followed with what looked to be an infield single, however, it was ruled Lux reached on a throwing error by the Lansing catcher, then Heredia (1) absolutely destroyed a 3-run HR bomb (his first as a Loon) that disappeared deep into the night sky for an 11-2 Loons lead in the bottom of the sixth.
May (8-6, 3.99 ERA) battled all night to earn his eighth win of the season after giving up 2-runs on 9-hits and 1-walk, while striking out 5-batters through 7-innings tonight.
Loons reliever Evy Ruibal (3.68 ERA) replaced May and allowed just 2-hits and 2-walks, with 1-strikeout through the final 2-innings.
Wong was 4 for 5 with 3-RBI's and 1-run scored to lead the Loons juggernaut offense tonight, and Heredia was 2 for 5 with a double and his 3-run HR, while Lux finished 2 for 5 with 2-runs scored.
Thomas was 1 for 1 with 3-walks, 3-runs, an RBI, and a Triple.
The Loons and Lugnuts return to Dow Diamond tomorrow night for game-3 of this 4-game home series.