After dropping 3-straight road games to the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers) the Great Lakes Loons (20-39) returned to the win column with a 5-4 victory over the Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians) in the opener of a 3-game home series at Dow Diamond tonight.
Lake County struck first when Captains third baseman Nolan Jones drove in catcher Mike Rivera (who had singled, then moved to second on an infield error) to give the Captains a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
The Loons responded 2-innings later when shortstop Moises Perez reached base on a 1-out walk and was driven in on an RBI-triple off the bat of Great Lakes CF Brayan Morales to tie the game at a run apiece, before third baseman Brandon Montgomery drove in Morales with an RBI-double for a 2-1 Loons lead in the bottom of the third inning.
The Captains tied the game again in the fifth when Lake County shortstop Ernie Clement led off the inning with a double, then advanced to third on a wild pitch by Loons starter Alfredo Tavarez, before scoring on an infield ground-out by Rivera to knot the game at 2-runs apiece in the top half of the fifth inning.
Tavarez (3.60 ERA) was replaced by Loons reliever Connor Strain after giving up 1-earned run on 6-hits and 3-walks through 4 2/3 innings.
Great Lakes answered with a big bottom half of the inning when RF Romer Cuadrado drove in Perez and Montgomery (who had both reached on walks) with a bases-clearing double, before Cuadrado scored on an RBI-single off the bat of Loons LF Starling Heredia for a 5-2 Loons lead in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Lake County battled back with a run in the eighth when first baseman Ulysses Cantu drove in Captains RF Will Benson (who had singled) with an RBI-double to cut the Loons' lead to 5-3, before CF Todd Isaacs led off the top of the ninth with a double, moved to third on a sac bunt, and scored on an infield ground-out to make it a 5-4 game, however, it would not be enough as Loons closer Andre Scrubb (SV2, 3.67 ERA) came in to get the final two outs to earn his second save of the season.
Strain (2-0, 1.42 ERA) picked up his second win of the season after allowing just 1-walk, while striking out 2-batters through 2 1/3 innings of relief.
Justin Hoyt (H1, 5.14 ERA) replaced Strain to start the eighth inning and picked up his first hold of the season after giving up 2-runs on 3-hits and 1-walk, with 2-strikeouts through 1 1/3 innings, before Scrubb came in to close out the game.
Scrubb, along with Loons infielder Jared Walker were both recently named to the eastern division roster for the 2018 Midwest League All-Star Game, which will be hosted by the Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays) this year, taking place on Tuesday June 19, at Cooley Law School Stadium in Lansing, MI in a couple of weeks. Walker was named an eastern division starter as well.
The Loons and Captains will return for the second game of this 3-game series at 7:05 pm tomorrow night right back here at Dow Diamond.
Video highlights from the Loons vs the Lake County Captains: