The Great Lakes Loons (56-56) got bit by mother nature, dropping a 4-3 rain-shortened decision to the Fort Wayne Tincaps (San Diego Padres) at Dow Diamond this afternoon.
The Loons were batting in the bottom of the sixth inning when the tarps came out due to heavy rain in the Midland area, and since the two teams had completed the Midwest Leagues' regulation minimum requirement of 5-innings, the game was deemed 'official' after the league determined the weather would not be clearing up anytime soon.
After a rough third inning, Loons starter Chris Matthewson seemed to be getting back on track until Fernando Tatis Jr. (19) crushed a 2-out home run, his nineteenth of the season over the left-center field wall at Dow Diamond which turned out to be the game winner, giving the Tincaps a 4-3 lead it would never relinquish in the top of the fifth inning.
Matthewson (3-3, 3.21 ERA) was charged with his third loss of the season after giving up 4-runs on 6-hits, while striking out a career high 9-batters through 6-innings this afternoon.
The Tincaps had jumped out to an early lead when first baseman Brad Zunica (18) led off with a 395-foot home run, his eighteenth of the season for a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
The Loons answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning when the hot-hitting Jared Walker (who is 8 for 18 with a .444 average since his return from a 4-game stint with the Ogden Raptors of the Dodgers' rookie league) laced an RBI-double to score Loons left fielder Starling Heredia to tie the game at 1-run apiece after 2-innings.
Matthewson seemed to be getting into a bit of a groove when he mowed down the first two batters of the third inning with back to back strikeouts, however, he followed the 2-strikeouts by giving up a 2-out double, and back to back RBI-singles as the Tincaps plated 2-runs for a 3-1 lead midway through the third inning.
Tincaps starter Ronald Bolanos was having a hard time hitting the strike zone in the top of the fourth when he walked Loons center fielder Saige Jenco, gave up a single to right fielder Jeren Kendall, and walked shortstop Gavin Lux to load the bases, then balked in Jenco for the first run of the inning, before Cristian Santana hit a grounder to the right side, scoring Kendall to tie the game at 3-runs apiece.
Bolanos (4-2, 4.18 ERA) gave up 3-runs on 2-hits and 5-walks, while striking out 3-batters through 5 2/3 innings to earn his fourth win of the season.
Walker was 1 for 2 with 1-RBI to lead the Loons' offense this afternoon, while Kendall had the only other Loons hit, going 1 for 3 with 1-run scored. Lux was 0 for 1, but reached base twice on 2-walks.
The Loons will need to win the final two games (Mon-Tue) of this 4-game home stand in order to split with the Tincaps. They will host Fort Wayne tomorrow at 7:05 for game-3 of the series here at Dow Diamond.