The Great Lakes Loons (25-56) have now dropped 12 of the first 13-games to start the second half of the 2018 Midwest League season (including 16 of the last 17) after a 2-0 shutout loss to the Fort Wayne Tincaps (San Diego Padres) in front of 5,243 on Military Appreciation Night at Dow Diamond tonight.
Loons starter Victor Gonzalez ran into some early trouble after walking Tincaps CF Jeisson Rosario to lead-off the game, then gave up a double to DH Esteury Ruiz, before Tincaps first baseman Nick Feight drove in Rosario on a sac fly RBI for a 1-0 Fort Wayne lead in the top of the first inning.
The Tincaps added to its lead in the third when second baseman Justin Lopez drove in Ruiz with an RBI-single after Ruiz had led off the inning with his second consecutive hit of the game for a 2-0 Fort Wayne lead in the top half of the third.
Gonzalez (0-3, 4.71 ERA) turned in a quality start, however, with no run-support, he was charged with his third loss of the season after giving up 2-runs on 6-hits and 1-walk, while striking out 4-batters through 5-innings.
On the other side, Fort Wayne starter Osvaldo Hernandez (an international free agent LHP signed by the Padres for $2.5 million dollars in 2017) managed to keep the Loons scoreless on just 4-hits heading into the seventh, where Loons RF Romer Cuadrado reached on a bunt single, followed by another single from shortstop Brandon Montgomery, chasing Hernandez with nobody out.
Tincaps reliever Austin Smith (a second round pick of the Padres out of Park Vista high school in Boynton Beach, FL back in the 2015 MLB draft) forced Montgomery out at second base on a fielders choice grounder off the bat of Loons third baseman Luke Heyer, before newly promoted Great Lakes catcher Hunter Feduccia (a twelfth round pick out of Louisiana State University in this summer's 2018 MLB draft) hit into a double play, ending the Loons threat.
The Loons prevented a great Tincaps' scoring chance in the bottom half of the seventh when Fort Wayne LF Jack Suwinski reached on a 1-out single, before heading for home when Rosario blasted a double to right-field, but Cuadrado made a great throw to Feduccia at home plate, who placed the tag on Suwinski to prevent the run from scoring.
Hernandez (6-3, 2.00 ERA) picked up his third win of the season after allowing just 6-hits, while striking out 5-batters through 6-solid innings, before he was replaced by Smith who was perfect, with 2-strikeouts throughout the next 2-innings, before closer Travis Radke (SV, 11) picked up his eleventh save of the season, allowing 1-hit, with 1-strikeout to close out the ninth inning tonight.
Cuadrado finished 2 for 4 with a single and a double to lead the Loons from the dish tonight, followed by Feduccia, who ripped a single in his first ever at bat as a Loon, finishing 1 for 3, along with Montgomery, who was 1 for 3 as well.
The Loons and Tincaps will now head to Fort Wayne for the final two games of this 4-game home-and-home series at 6:05 pm tomorrow night and 7:05 pm on Thursday evening.