When: 7:05 p.m. today
TV: Xfinity Channel 81
Radio: 1380 AM
Tickets: $12.50, $10, $9, $8, $5 (lawn)
Information: TinCaps.com or 482-6400
If you thought the worst pitching of the night would come from the guy who finished sixth on “American Idol,” Casey Abrams, you would have been wrong.
Abrams didn’t do too badly on the ceremonial first pitch. Beloit’s starting pitcher, Tyler Jones, however, wouldn’t have gotten much love from even Paula Abdul.
Jones was hammered by the TinCaps – who had been struggling before Wednesday – giving up five runs in 3 1/3 innings and Fort Wayne went on to win, 6-3, in front of 4,510 fans at Parkview Field.
Coming into the game, the TinCaps’ four-game losing streak was marked by their inability to hit well with runners in scoring position. They had batted .139 in the streak; on Wednesday, they were 4 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
And Jones was victim of much of it. After taking a ball off the shoulder to start the second inning, things went awry for Jones, who gave up eight hits, threw a wild pitch, walked three and struck out two, while throwing 86 pitches.
“That was kind of the story of the whole first half (of the season); we weren’t hitting with runners in scoring position,” said TinCaps catcher Austin Hedges, who was 3 for 4 with two doubles, three RBI, two runs and two stolen bases.
“Other these past four games, previous to that in the second half (of the season), we had really been hitting with runners in scoring position and we did it again today. That’s how we win ball games, in addition to our pitching.”
Fort Wayne remains atop the Eastern Division standings with an 11-8 record (42-47 overall), while Beloit dropped to 8-11, 47-42.
Jones (1-3) didn’t have much help from his catcher, Jairo Rodriguez, who allowed two passed balls and let the TinCaps steal five bases. Fort Wayne jumped out to a 5-2 lead by the time Jones left.
The TinCaps’ season high for stolen bases is six. The franchise record, dating back to 2002, is seven.
“I like to be aggressive, especially when you aren’t getting too much offensively,” TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said. “You can’t afford to just wait there for the big swing when you aren’t having that consistently. That’s my game. I like to play aggressively and try to get those going and it works out. We just have to continue to do that, until we have some guys get some good at-bats and play. Then, I’ll be able to afford to let them go up there and hit and relax.”
The TinCaps’ starting pitcher, Frank Garces, came in on a four-game winning streak, the longest for any Fort Wayne player this season, and he worked four innings, giving up two hits, two runs, striking out four and walking four.
Reliever Dennis O’Grady (2-0) got the victory, giving up four hits and one run over four innings, during which he struck out two. Matt Stites picked up his seventh save, striking out two and giving up one run in the ninth.
Second baseman Tyler Stubblefield was 2 for 3 with two RBI and two stolen bases. Right-fielder Yeison Asencio was 2 for 4 with a run and a stolen base. First baseman Travis Whitmore was 1 for 2 with three runs.