A disastrous 6-run fifth inning led to the first ever loss for the Great Lakes Loons (75-50) playing as the Great Lakes Camels (10-1) in a 7-6 loss to the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers) in front of 4,160 at Dow Diamond in Midland, MI tonight.
Loons center fielder James Outman (16) managed to cut the West Michigan lead to 7-6 with the second of a pair of 'bookend' solo homers with 2-outs in the bottom of the ninth after putting Great Lakes on the board with a similar bomb in the first.
The Loons had jumped out to an early lead when Outman (15) led off the game with his fifteenth home run of the year, a solo shot over the right field wall at Dow Diamond for a 1-0 lead, which was followed by an RBI-single off the bat of recently promoted third baseman Brandon Lewis (a fourth round pick of the Dodgers in the 2019 MLB draft) to score shortstop Leonel Valera for a 2-0 Camels lead, before Great Lakes DH Luke Heyer drove in first baseman Justin Yurchak and Lewis with a 2-run double for a 4-0 lead after one inning.
West Michigan would get on the board two innings later when Detroit's highly touted top draft pick Riley Greene (who was drafted by the Tigers with the No. 5 overall pick in the first round of the 2019 MLB draft) drove in Whitecaps shortstop Wenceel Perez on a sac fly RBI to cut the Great Lakes lead to 4-1 midway through the third.
The Loons added to its lead when center fielder Chris Roller scored on an infield grounder off the bat of catcher Garrett Hope for a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth, but the wheels started to come off for Great Lakes starter Stephen Kolek in the top half of the fifth.
The Whitecaps began to rattle Kolek with back to back 1-out singles by Zach Malis and Perez respectively, while West Michigan catcher Sam McMillan followed with a 2-RBI-double to drive in Malis and Perez, making it a 5-3 game with just 1-out in the top of the fifth.
Kolek's troubles continued after hitting the speedy Greene with a pitch then relenting a pair of RBI-singles to Whitecaps right fielder Parker Meadows and left fielder Bryant Packard respectively, knotting the game at 5-runs apiece with 1-out, as Kolek was on the hook for the remaining base runners after being chased in favor of Loons reliever Edward Cuello.
Whitecaps third baseman Andre Lipcius continued the big fifth inning rally for West Michigan, jumping all over Cuello with a 2-RBI double for a 7-5 lead midway through five.
Kolek (7-8, 4.74 ERA) was charged with his eighth loss of the year after giving up all 7-runs on 9-hits with 1-strikeout through 4 1/3 innings, while Cuello allowed 2-hits and 1-walk with 3-strikeouts over the next 2 2/3 innings, befre Dodgers 2019 draft pick Jeff Belge (making his single-A debut) allowed just 1-walk with 1-strikeout to close out the final 2-innings.
The Loons and Whitecaps will return for the second game of this 3-game home series right back here at Dow Diamond at 7:05 pm tomorrow night.