In a well-rounded team effort, the Fort Wayne TinCaps beat the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Tampa Bay Rays affiliate), 5-3, on Wednesday night at Bowling Green Ballpark.
Starting pitcher Sam Keating went a career-long seven innings with only two earned runs allowed, the offense tallied 10 hits, and the defense turned a season-high four double plays.
After shutting out the Hot Rods (38-28), 4-0, on Tuesday, the ‘Caps (30-34) found themselves behind early in this one. Two batters into the game, Bowling Green took a 1-0 lead as Michael Smith singled, moved to second base on an errant pickoff throw, and scored on a Wander Franco RBI single.
But the TinCaps tied the game, 1-1, in the second. With two outs, catcher Juan Fernandez singled and first baseman Lee Solomon drove him in with a double to right-center field.
The score stayed tied into the seventh. That’s when right fielder Agustin Ruiz doubled and Fernandez scored him with an RBI single to make it 2-1. Following an intentional walk of Solomon, with two outs, center fielder Jawuan Harris crushed a three-run homer to left field to expand the lead to 5-1. It was Harris’ third homer of the season, and his second at this ballpark.
Keating, who’d never thrown more than 5 2/3 innings in a professional start before this, allowed a two-run homer to Grant Witherspoon in the bottom of the seventh. Nevertheless, the 20-year-old scattered eight hits and a walk while striking out three.
The ‘Caps turned a pair of 4-6-3 double plays, plus one of the 4-6-3 variety and another, 5-4-3. Xavier Edwards was at second base, Kelvin Melean played third, and Justin Lopez manned shortstop.
Adrian Martinez pitched a scoreless eighth and Austin Smith earned his third save with a perfect ninth.
Edwards, Fernandez, Solomon, and Harris each had two hits.
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