The Great Lakes Loons (5-12) fell behind in the first inning, but used the long-ball to battle back with 2-runs in the second, adding another 4-runs in the fourth, and 2-more in the seventh for an 8-3 victory over the Fort Wayne Tincaps (San Diego Padres) at Dow Diamond tonight.
Loons skipper John Shoemaker was happy to see his team respond from early adversity by regaining the lead with a 2-run HR, before continuing to pile up the runs with multiple homers.
“Fort Wayne scored in the first and then we came back and got a couple of runs ahead pretty early in the game and were able to hold onto the lead,” Shoemaker said. “We hit some long balls today: Garrett Hope, Montgomery, Heredia, and Yarnall; It's always good to see the ball going out of the ball park, especially when you're on that side of it.”
The Tincaps had jumped out to an early lead when CF Jeisson Rosario led off the game with a single, then scored on a wild pitch for a 1-0 Fort Wayne lead in the top of the first inning.
The Loons responded with 2-runs off of Fort Wayne starter Mason Thompson, when LF Carlos Rincon reached on a walk, then was driven in on a 2-run home run off the bat of Brandon Montgomery (2) to give the Loons a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second inning.
Great Lakes starter Max Gamboa (2.92 ERA) had a productive start for the Loons, giving up just 1-run on 4-hits and 3-walks, with 4-strikeouts through 3-innings tonight.
Two innings after taking a 2-1 lead, Montgomery drove in first baseman Nick Yarnall (who had reached on a walk) with an RBI-single, before third baseman Jared Walker reached on a walk to put runners at first and second, which set the table for Loons catcher Garrett Hope (1) who jacked his first home run of the season, a 3-run bomb over the right field wall at Dow Diamond for a 6-1 Great Lakes lead in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Hope's 3-run blast would prove to be the difference in the game, ending Thompson's evening after losing the battle with Hope.
“I feel like he missed his spot, left it over the middle of the plate, Hope said of Thompson. “I knew I was going to get attacked with fastballs until I prove I can hit, and I finally got my pitch and did some damage.”
Thompson (1-3, 11.85 ERA) was charged with his third loss of the season after giving up 6-runs on 4-hits and 4-walks, with 4-strikeouts through 3-2/3 innings.
Loons reliever Devin Hemmerich (1-1, 3.00 ERA) replaced Gamboa, earning his first win at the full season single-A level, allowing just 1-walk, while striking out 3-batters through 3-scoreless and no-hit innings.
The Loons would add another 2-spot when RF Starling Heredia (1) and Yarnall (4) hit back to back 2-out solo home runs for an 8-1 Loons lead in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Great Lakes reliever Marshall Kasowski (2.08 ERA) replaced Hemmerich and continued to shut down the Tincaps, allowing just 1-hit, while striking out 4-batters throughout the seventh and eighth innings.
Fort Wayne managed to plate 2-unearned runs off Loons closer Zach Pop following an error and a fielders choice in the top of the ninth inning.
Montgomery paced the Loons offense, going 2 for 4 with 3-RBI's tonight, continuing his recent hot streak where he has 10 hits and 7-RBI's in his last ten games, much to the delight of his skipper.
"Brandon has experience in pro ball," Shoemaker said. "He's been working really hard on his swing and it's starting to pay dividends."
The Loons will wrap up this four-game homestand against the Tincaps with a 10:35 am game tomorrow morning at Dow Diamond, before taking on the South Bend Cubs (Chicago Cubs) in a 3-game road series at Four Winds Field at Coveleski Stadium in South Bend, IN next week.
Staling Heredia rounds third base after a solo HR against the Tincaps tonight: