Trailing by 3-runs in the final inning, the Great Lakes Loons (66-40) made things interesting when left fielder James Outman (9) and second baseman Luke Heyer (13) hit back to back 1-out home runs on consecutive pitches in the bottom of the ninth to make it a one run game, before ultimately falling short in a 10-9 loss to the Fort Wayne Tincaps (San Diego Padres) in front of 3,791 at Dow Diamond in Midland, MI tonight.
The Tincaps came out swinging and jumped all over Loons starter Jose Martinez early when Fort Wayne left fielder Tyler Benson reached on a 1-out walk then scored on an RBI-double off the bat of right fielder Dwanya Williams-Sutton for a 1-0 lead while Tincaps DH Michael Curry followed with an RBI-single to score Williams-Sutton for a 2-0 lead, before Curry managed to score on an infield ground out, giving the Tincaps a 3-0 cushion midway through the opening inning.
Fort Wayne starter Moises Lugo had his own share of difficulties just a half inning later when Great Lakes CF Chris Roller led off the second with a single, before Lugo began to struggle, hitting Heyer and catcher Jair Camargo in consecutive at bats to load the bases, which opened the door for a 2-RBI double by Loons third baseman Gersel Pitre, scoring Roller and Heyer to cut the Tincaps lead to 3-2 with just 1-out in the bottom of the second.
The Loons then tied the game later in the second when Camargo was driven in on a sac fly RBI off the bat of Great Lakes first baseman Justin Yurchak to knot the game at 3-runs apiece after two innings of play.
Lugo's troubles would continue an inning later when he walked Loons shortstop Leonel Valera and right fielder Romer Cuadrado in consecutive at bats, while Roller followed with an RBI-single to score Valera for a 4-3 Great Lakes lead, chasing Lugo for Fort Wayne reliever Adrian Martinez with nobody out in the bottom of the third.
Lugo's day would come to an end after giving up 4-runs on 3-hits and 2-walks with 1-strikeout through 2-innings.
The Tincaps responded with a big fourth inning, kicked off by third baseman Ethan Skender, who reached on a lead-off single, while first baseman Luke Becker was hit by a Martinez pitch, opening the door for a 2-run single by Fort Wayne second baseman Lee Solomon to tie the game at 4-runs apiece, before Becker managed to score on an error to give the Tincaps a 5-4 lead with nobody out in the fourth.
Martinez seemed to be on his way to working out of the jam with minimal damage when a very high and lazy bloop single by Curry somehow found its way to green grass in shallow right field for a 2-RBI single, scoring Solomon and Fort Wayne CF Juwan Harris for a 7-4 lead, as (Loons starter) Martinez was chased in favor of reliever Yeison Cespedes, while Martinez would remain on the hook for the runners on base.
Curry capped the big Fort Wayne inning after scoring on an RBI-single by Tincaps shortstop Justin Lopez for an 8-4 lead midway through the fourth as Martinez (8-2, 3.46 ERA) suffered his second loss of the year after giving up 8-runs on 8-hits and 2-walks with 5-strikeouts through 3 2/3 innings.
The Loons added a run in the bottom half of the fourth when Yurchak (1) belted his first home run as a Loon to cut the Fort Wayne lead to 8-5, but the Tincaps responded in the top of the fifth when Becker (1) led off with a solo bomb of his own for a 9-5 lead.
Great Lakes chipped away at the lead later in the game when Camargo drove in Roller and Heyer with a 2-run single to cut the Fort Wayne lead to 9-7 in the bottom of the seventh, but the Tincaps answered with a run in the top of the eighth for a 10-7 lead.
The Loons can still clinch the series with a win over the Tincaps when the two teams wrap up this four game series at 7:05 pm right back here at Dow Diamond tomorrow night.
Video of James Outman rounding the bases after his ninth inning Home Run against the Fort Wayne Tincaps: