MIDLAND, MI - The Great Lakes Loons (34-36) wrapped up the first half of play Sunday at Dow Diamond in front of 3,908 Loons fans, losing 9-2 to the Lansing Lugnuts, who finished with the Midwest League's best record at 47-22.
Starting on the hill for the Loons was Midwest League All-Star Jarret Martin, who ran into trouble in the third inning. Two walks and a Jeff Hunt throwing error loaded the bases with no outs, before Martin delivered another walk to give Lansing their first run. A sac-fly from Chris Hawkins scored another and a walk to Andy Burns loaded the bases again.
The big blow came off the bat of Kevin Pillar, who cleared the bases with a grand slam to put the game out of reach. Martin tossed one more walk before ending his day. The lefty took the loss, his fifth, in 2.1 innings of work, totaling six walks to two strikeouts.
"There's no defense against a walk," Loons manager John Shoemaker said after the game in which Loons pitchers allowed nine. "It's disappointing to get down early when you're facing a really good ball team that's tough to come back on."
Raydel Sanchez, Jose Dominguez and Juan Rodriguez all saw at two innings of relief work. Sanchez allowed one run on three hits, while Dominguez allowed two on three hits. Rodriguez kept things clean with two scoreless innings to close out the game.
Offensively the Loons registered just as many hits as the Lugnuts, with seven, but only turned in two runs over the course of nine innings. The team picked up their first run in the bottom of the second. Nick Akins hit a single that was misplayed in centerfield to allow him to reach third. Pratt Maynard ushered him home with a sac-fly.
The Loons grabbed one more in the sixth after loading the bases with three consecutive singles. Delvis Morales grounded into a double-play, scoring Akins. Angelo Songco and Akins each led the team with two hits.
Though the Loons took the loss on Sunday, they did win the three-game series against Lansing, 2-1.
The Great Lakes Loons and all of the Midwest League will take a break before beginning the second half of play on Thursday. The Loons will start play on the road in Lansing. During the break, Martin, O'Koyea Dickson and Joe Winker will head to Geneva, IL to play in the league's All-Star Game. The game beings at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday night and will be broadcast on ESPN 100.9-FM.
The Great Lakes Loons are a sixth-year Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and are in the middle of their 5th Anniversary Celebration, which kicked off in August 2011 and will continue throughout the 2012 season. For more information about the Loons, visit Loons.com or call 989-837-BALL.