'Caps Throw One Away in 6-4 Loss
COMSTOCK PARK, MI - Three errors in the seventh inning by the West Michigan Whitecaps defense led to a big inning for the Fort Wayne TinCaps and a 6-4 loss on a rain-filled night Monday night at Fifth Third Ballpark.
With a 3-0 edge in the seventh, West Michigan gave up five runs in the following frame on two throwing errors and a dropped pop-up which enabled Fort Wayne to the lead and eventual win.
Robbie Welhaf made another brilliant start for the Whitecaps, exiting after six innings, shutting out the TinCaps on one single and a walk while striking out six. Welhaf has proved stingy in allowing earned runs over his last three starts, giving up only three in the previous 20 innings. Meanwhile, the "Caps struck for the game's first run in the first as Wenceel Perez walked, stole second and scored on a throwing error by Fort Wayne starter Omar Cruz. The Whitecaps stranded base runners through the next three innings and failing to score but came through in the fifth as Riley Greene delivered a two-run double to extend the margin to 3-0. Fort Wayne scored all five of their seventh-inning runs after the first two batters were retired. Clark Brinkman misplayed a fly-ball and a single off "Caps reliever Kory Behenna made the score 3-1.
An Andre Lipcius throwing error gave Fort Wayne another run. Wenceel Perez followed suit which led to two more runs and a 4-3 Fort Wayne advantage. The big inning ended with a single off Whitecaps reliever Yaya Chentouf and a 5-3 cushion.
West Michigan closed the gap to 5-4 after Zach Malis singled in the bottom of the seventh, and eventually scored after two consecutive balks off TinCaps reliever Austin Smith. Fort Wayne answered by closing out the scoring with an insurance run and a 6-4 lead in their eighth as Justin Lopez connected for an RBI single off Chentouf. The disappointing loss for West Michigan broke a three-game winning streak enabled the TinCaps to take their first win through three games of a four-game series. The Whitecaps loss also snapped a three-game win streak over the TinCaps. West Michigan manufactured eleven hits to six for Fort Wayne. Malis banged out three hits, and both Perez and Greene enjoyed two-hit nights. West Michigan went only 3 for 18 with runners in scoring position and left nine on the base paths in the loss.
Chentouf (3-6) absorbed the loss, surrendering four hits and one earned run in 1.1 innings for West Michigan. Andrew Dean (1-0) picked up the win in his first outing with Fort Wayne, allowing two earned runs and three hits in 1.2 innings. Despite the loss, which drops their season record to 46-86 and 25-38 in the second half, West Michigan has won eight of their last twelve. Fort Wayne snaps a two-game slide to improve to 59-72 and 26-37. Both teams have officially been eliminated for the Midwest League's postseason in 2019.
The Whitecaps play their final home game of the regular season at Fifth Third Ballpark against the Fort Wayne TinCaps Tuesday night at 7:05 pm. Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty and Mike Coleman begins on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 6:55 pm. Robert Klinchock makes the start for West Michigan against TinCaps pitcher Efrain Contreras. Tickets are available for any remaining Whitecaps 2019 home contest by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or by visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.
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