The Great Lakes Loons (18-35) let a 6-0 lead slip away, before giving up 4-runs in the third inning and another 3-runs in the fourth, which ultimately led to a 7-6 loss to the Fort Wayne Tincaps (San Diego Padres) at Dow Diamond tonight.
The Loons had managed to jump all over Fort Wayne starter Tom Cosgrove early when CF Brayan Morales (who had led off the game with a walk) was driven in on double by Great Lakes second baseman Marcus Chiu, while LF Romer Cuadrado followed with an RBI-triple to drive in Chiu, leading to a double by Loons DH Starling Heredia, which scored Cuadrado for a 3-0 lead with only 1-out.
Great Lakes continued its first inning rally when third baseman Eric Peterson and first baseman Mitchell Hansen reached on back to back fielding errors by the Tincaps, allowing Heredia to score, before Peterson eventually scored on an infield grounder by Loons catcher Ramon Rodriguez to take a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
Cosgrove (5.18 ERA) was replaced after giving up 4-earned runs on 5-hits and 2-walks, with 2-strikeouts through 1 1/3 innings for the Tincaps.
The Loons added to its lead in the following inning when Chiu reached on a 1-out walk, moved to second on a single by Cuadrado, then advanced to third on a single by RF Carlos Rincon, before Chiu eventually scored on an RBI-single off the bat of Heredia for a 6-0 Great Lakes lead in the bottom of the second inning.
Trailing 6-0 in the third, the Tincaps began to chip away at the Loons lead when Fort Wayne LF Robbie Pedorsky reached on a 2-out walk and was driven in on an RBI-single by second baseman Esteury Ruiz to put Fort Wayne on the board (6-1) before RF Tirso Ornelas (4) blasted a 3-run home run over the right-center field wall at Dow Diamond, his fourth of the season, cutting the Loons' lead to 6-4 in the top of the third inning.
The Tincaps took the lead for good when shortstop Gabriel Arias and Fort Wayne catcher Juan Fernandez led off the seventh with back to back walks, while first baseman Jalen Washington followed with a single to load the bases, as Pedorsky reached on an error which allowed both Arias and Fernandez to score, knotting the game at 6-runs apiece, before Washington was driven in on a sac fly RBI off the bat of Tincaps' CF Jeisson Rosario for a 7-6 Fort Wayne lead (which it would not relinquish) in the top of the seventh.
Fort Wayne reliever Caleb Boushley (4-1, 1.86 ERA) picked up his fourth victory of the year for the Tincaps after allowing just 1-hit, while striking out 4-Great Lakes batters through 3-innings of relief tonight.
Loons starter Leo Crawford (2.52 ERA) gave up 4-runs on 4-hits and 2-walks, with 2-strikeouts through 4 2/3 innings, while reliever Max Gamboa (1-4, BS1) was tagged with the blown save, along with his fourth loss of the season after giving up 2-earned runs on 4-hits and 2-walks, with 3-strikeouts through 3 innings of relief.
Great Lakes reliever James Carter (8.22 ERA) replaced Crawford in the fifth and looked very good, allowing just 1-hit, while striking out 1-batter through 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
Chiu led the Loons from the dish tonight, going 1 for 3 with an RBI, 2-walks, and 2-runs scored, while Heredia finished 2 for 5 with 2-RBI's and 1-run scored.
The Loons and Tincaps will be back for the second game of this 3-game series at 7:05 pm at Dow Diamond tomorrow evening.