The Great Lakes Loons' (18-33) four-game win streak came to an abrupt end with a 5-3 loss to the South Bend Cubs (Chicago Cubs) in front of 5,731 fans for Kids School Day at Dow Diamond this afternoon.
The Cubs wasted little time getting to Loons starter Joel Inoa, as South Bend No. 2 hitter Christian Donahue (1) crushed his first ever home run as a professional and lifted it over the right field wall at Dow Diamond for a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
Great Lakes answered when shortstop Zach McKinstry roped a 1-out single into the gap in right-center field off of South Bend starter Rollie Lacy, moved to second on an overthrow on a pick-off attempt, then scored on an RBI-single off the bat of hot-hitting Loons third baseman Brandon Montgomery to tie the game at 1-run apiece in the bottom half of the first inning.
South Bend third baseman Austin Filiere reached on a 1-out walk in the fourth, then moved to second on a single off the bat of Cubs catcher Michael Cruz and was forced out at third on a grounder by DH Nelson Velazquez, however, the Great Lakes third baseman (in an attempt to double up Velazquez) overthrew first base, which advanced Cruz to third and Velazquez to second, leading to a balk by Inoa, which scored Cruz and then moved Velazquez to third, before Inoa balked again, allowing Velazquez to score for a 3-1 South Bend lead in the top of the fourth inning.
Inoa (0-1, 6.75 ERA) was tagged with his first loss of the season after giving up 2-earned runs on 3-hits and 1-walk, while striking out 5-batters through 4-innings.
Loons reliever Connor Strain replaced Inoa to start the fifth and walked Cubs shortstop Rafael Narea to lead off the inning and Narea quickly stole second, before he was driven in on an RBI-single off the bat of CF Zach Davis to extend the South Bend lead to 4-1 in the top of the fifth inning.
Strain (2.16 ERA) gave up 1-run on 2-hits and 1-walk, with 1-strikeout through 1 2/3 innings.
The Loons would get a run back in the bottom half of the fifth when second baseman Marcus Chiu was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, then stole second base, before he was driven in on an RBI-single by DH Jared Walker to cut the South Bend lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth, chasing Lacy.
Lacy (1-1, 2.91 ERA) was replaced by reliever Yapson Gomez to start the sixth, but earned his first win of the season after giving up 2-runs on 5-hits and 2-walks, while striking out 8-Loons batters through 5-innings of work.
Loons reliever Marshall Kasowski (2.57 ERA) replaced Strain late in the fifth inning and was perfect with 2-strikeouts over the next 2 1/3 innings, where he was replaced by Loons closer Dan Jagiello (2.81 ERA) who gave up a walk to Hughes, before Hughes was then driven in by Narea for a 5-2 Cubs lead in the top of the ninth.
Trailing 5-2 in the bottom of the ninth, the Loons chased Cubs closer Ben Hecht (2.81 ERA) after he hit Chiu, walked CF Brayan Morales, then hit McKinstry to load the bases, before Montgomery hit into a double play, but scored Chiu from third to make it a 5-3 game in the bottom of the ninth, however, Jared Walker struck out to end the game.
The Cubs and Loons will wrap up this 3-game series with a 7:05 pm game-3 right back here at Dow Diamond tomorrow night.