The Great Lakes Loons (45-49) hit 2 home runs, backed by some great pitching to halt the longest losing streak in franchise history at 10 games with a 5-2 victory over the Beloit (WI.) Snappers (Oakland A's) at Dow Diamond this afternoon.
Sometimes in baseball, players tend to over-complicate the game.
So, after dropping 10 straight games, Loons manager Jeremy Rodriguez decided to use a little reverse psychology in order to take the focus off the losing streak, and get back to the basics today.
On a typical game day, players will arrive at the ball park 4 or 5 hours before the game, go through batting practice and stretching, before easing into the game. Today, Rodriguez told his team to arrive no earlier than an hour before the first pitch.
“Today, we actually changed it up a little bit,” Rodriguez said. “We had the guys show up an hour before the game and told them, hey, just don't think about it too much, just enjoy the game, go out there and play. That's not going to be our normal routine, but it was good (for today) to get their mind off everything and just show up and play.”
Beloit first baseman Miguel Mercedes led off the top of the second with a single and had a chance to score when Snappers right fielder Luke Persico ripped a triple over the head of Loons right fielder Zack Reks, however, Reks recovered quickly and hit his cutoff man, second baseman Cristian Santana, who turned and gunned Mercedes out at home plate with a laser to catcher Stevie Berman for the first out of the inning.
Building on the momentum of the out at home, Loons starter Leo Crawford struck out the next batter and forced an infield pop up to get out of the inning.
Crawford hit a bit of a speed-bump in the top half of the third inning when he gave up two solo home runs for a 2-0 Beloit lead midway through three.
Loons left fielder Mitchell Hansen led off the bottom of the third with a double and was driven in when center fielder Saige Jenco (2) crushed a 2-run home run (his second of the season) over the right field wall at Dow Diamond to tie the game at 2-runs apiece through three innings.
The Loons took a 3-2 lead after DH Oneil Cruz reached on a 1-out walk, then was driven in on an RBI single by Hansen in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Great Lakes first baseman Jared Walker (4) led off the fifth with a solo home run, his fourth of the season, to give the Loons a 4-2 lead through five innings.
After giving up the 2-home runs in the third inning, Crawford would give up one more hit in the fourth, before going on to retire 10-straight batters.
Crawford (5-8, 4.56 ERA) gave up 2-runs on 5-hits and 1-walk, while striking out 5-batters through 6-innings to earn his fifth win of the season.
Loons shortstop Gavin Lux drove in Berman with an RBI sac fly to extend the Loons' lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Andre Scrubb (H,1) earned his third hold of the season, while walking 1-batter and striking out 1-batter in the eighth inning, while Nolan Long (2.70 ERA) gave up 1-hit, while striking out 1-batter to earn his fourth save of the season after closing out the ninth inning.
Hansen was 2 for 3 with an RBI-single and a double to lead the Loons offense today.
"We were just trying to change things up a bit," Hansen said. "We just wanted to focus on playing some good baseball and hopefully the outcome would be what we wanted, and today it was."
Walker was 1 for 3 with a walk and a home run, while Jenco was 1 for 4 with 2-RBI's including his home run.
The Loons will have tomorrow off before heading out on a 6-day road trip starting with a 3-game series against the Cedar Rapids (IA.) Kernels (Minnesota Twins) Wed-Fri then another 3-game road series with the Quad Cities (IA.) River Bandits (Houston Astros) Sat-Mon.