Comstock Park, MI:
The Great Lakes Loons (31-30) continue torching the Midwest League competition throughout the month of August, kicking off a crucial 4-game road series with an impressive 8-0 shutout victory over the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers) in front of 7,057 at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, MI near Grand Rapids tonight.
After occupying the MWL cellar throughout the first half of the 2018 season, and briefly into the second half, the Loons started to heat up in late July, and have now won 17 of 23 games in the month of August to move 1 ½ games ahead of the Whitecaps (29-31) for the top second half eastern division playoff spot in the MWL standings with just 9-regular season games to play.
Loons starter Alfredo Tavarez (3-5, 2.96 ERA) and closer Jaciel Alvino were virtually untouchable, combining for a 2-hit shutout, with Tavarez picking up the win, his third of the year after allowing just 1-hit and 3-walks, while striking out 4-batters through 7-innings, before Alvino (3.18 ERA) came in to start the eighth and mirrored Tavarez' line, allowing just 1-hit and 3-walks as well, with 2-strikeouts to close out the final 2-innings.
The Loons jumped out to an early lead when CF Josh McLain drove in Great Lakes catcher Hunter Feduccia with a sac fly RBI for a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, before Loons RF Romer Cuadrado (5) belted a 3-run home run, his fifth of the year, to score LF Drew Avans and Loons first baseman Devin Mann (who had led off the third with back to back walks) for a 4-0 lead in the top of the third inning.
Great Lakes added to its lead when shortstop Jacob Amaya reached on a lead-off walk in the seventh, eventually scoring from third on a wild pitch to extend the lead to 5-0 in the top of the seventh, before Avans was hit by a pitch in the ninth and moved to third on a double off the bat of Mann, then scored on a wild pitch; which led to four straight singles by Cuadrado (scoring Mann), Loons third baseman Luke Heyer, Feduccia, and DH Eric Peterson (scoring Cuadrado) for an 8-0 Great Lakes lead in the top of the ninth inning.
The Loons and Whitecaps will return to Fifth Third Ballpark for the second game of this 4-game road series at 7 pm tomorrow night.