MIDLAND, MI - The West Michigan Whitecaps were in dire need of a win on Thursday night, and the heart of the order responded by powering the offense to a 5-2 victory over the Great Lakes Loons at Dow Diamond.
West Michigan (31-35) had lost nine of their previous 12 games heading into play on Thursday, using the win to avoid a three-game sweep while snapping a seven-game winning streak for Great Lakes (25-41).
Devon Travis went 3-for-5 while Jeff Holm and Lance Durham each homered and drove in a pair. The third, fourth and fifth hitters in the lineup combined to go 7-for-14 with a pair of home runs, four runs scored and four RBI.
On the mound, Endrys Briceno led a quartet of Whitecaps' pitchers who allowed just two unearned runs.
Holm got the scoring started, blasting a solo homer in the second inning before doubling home Travis in the third for a 2-0 lead.
It was a 2-1 ballgame when Jared Reaves grounded an RBI-single through the right side in the fourth. One inning later, Durham slugged a long two-run blast to right-center that staked West Michigan to a 5-1 advantage.
Briceno (3-4) and company did the rest.
The 21-year-old right-hander from Venezuela allowed just two hits and one unearned run over five innings of work, striking out three and walking one. Since May 20, Baseball America's No. 22-rated Tigers' prospect is 3-1 with a sparkling 1.20 ERA and four quality starts in five outings.
Logan Ehlers, Guido Knudson and Jose Valdez combined to limit the Loons to one unearned run on three singles over the final four innings. Valdez worked the ninth, striking out a pair to earn his 14th save of the season.
The Whitecaps return to Fifth Third Ballpark to open their final home series of the first half with a 7:00 p.m. first pitch against the Fort Wayne TinCaps on Friday night. RHP Charlie Gillies (0-3, 3.03) is scheduled to pitch for West Michigan against RHP Joe Ross (3-2, 3.02) of Fort Wayne. The Tiger Friday series will kick off with an appearance by "Paw Paw" Charlie Maxwell, while Saturday's action will include games at 12:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. for a split doubleheader before the final day of the first half on Sunday. Group and individual tickets can be reserved by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.
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