The Great Lakes Loons (44-45) extended its longest losing streak of the 2017 Midwest League season to six games with a 7-2 loss to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Milwaukee Brewers) at Dow Diamond tonight.
With the Loons trailing 4-2, a disastrous eighth inning began when Great Lakes reliever Angel German dropped the ball on the transfer, allowing the Wisconsin lead off batter to reach first base, before German hit the next batter with a pitch, then walked the following two batters; which subsequently loaded the bases and walked in 1-run to make it a 5-2 game.
German was replaced by reliever Jeremiah Muhammed who bounced a pitch in front of home plate before it jumped up and over the shoulders of Loons catcher Garrett Hope to allow another run to score for a 6-2 Wisconsin lead with no outs.
The Timber Rattlers then scored its seventh and final run on a sac fly RBI to take a 7-2 lead as Muhammed managed to get out of the inning.
Despite the one wild pitch, Muhammed (1.80 ERA) put up zeroes, while striking out 3-batters to close out the final 2-innings of the game for the Loons.
The Loons had missed out on an early scoring opportunity in the first inning when second baseman Gavin Lux led off with a triple but was thrown out at home on an infield grounder, before Wisconsin answered with 1-run in the top half of the second when shortstop Devin Hairston drove in second baseman Tucker Neuhaus for a 1-0 lead.
Great Lakes first baseman Jared Walker (3) managed to tie the game at 1-run apiece in the bottom of the third inning when he belted his third home run of the season, a solo shot over the right center field wall at Dow Diamond.
Following the Walker home run, Wisconsin starter Victor Diaz (5.80 ERA) gave up a single to Lux, then retired the next 8-batters before he was chased after giving up respective singles to Lux and Loons shortstop Brendon Davis with 1-out in the bottom of the sixth.
Diaz (5.75 ERA) gave up the 1-run on 4-hits, while striking out 4-batters through 5 1/3 innings.
The Loons troubles began after starter Leo Crawford struck out the first batter of the eighth inning, before giving up a double, followed by back to back singles to load the bases.
German replaced him and gave up 3-runs (all charged to Crawford) on back to back singles for a 4-1 Wisconsin lead midway through the seventh.
Crawford (4-8, 4.73 ERA) was charged with his fourth loss of the season after giving up 4-runs on 5-hits and 3-walks, while striking out 6-batters through 6 1/3 innings.
German (1.88 ERA) gave up 3-runs (only 1 of which was earned) on 2-hits and 2-walks, through 2/3 of an inning. It should be noted that one of German's unearned runs was from an error that he himself had committed, while the other was on a wild pitch by Muhammed which allowed a runner that German had hit with a pitch to score.
The Loons responded in the bottom of the seventh when third baseman Cristian Santana and left fielder Mitchell Hansen led off with back to back 1-out singles, before Hope crushed an RBI double, scoring Santana to get the Loons to within 2-runs (4-2) of the Timber Rattlers.
One positive takeaway from tonight's loss would be that 8 of the 9 Loons batters combined for a team total of 10-hits tonight, led by Lux who was 3 for 4 with 1-walk and a triple.
Walker finished 1 for 3 with his third home run, while Hope was 1 for 4 with an RBI double.
Loons right fielder Carlos Rincon and DH Oneil Cruz were both 1 for 4 with a double each respectively, as Santana finished 1 for 4 with 1-run scored, and Davis had a hit to go 1 for 4 as well.
The Loons will try to stop this six game skid in the second game of this 3-game series against the Timber Rattlers at 7:05 pm tomorrow at Dow Diamond.