Comstock Park, MI - The Fort Wayne TinCaps closed the first half of the 2013 season with a victory, defeating the West Michigan Whitecaps, 10-5, at Fifth Third Ballpark. With a 43-win half, the TinCaps secured the third-most wins in a half in the 21-year history of the Fort Wayne Franchise. The team now has off until a Thursday home game against South Bend.
Looking to avoid their first series loss since being swept in a four-game set from May 22-24 by South Bend, the TinCaps used a four-run first inning against West Michigan (33-37) starter Edgar De La Rosa. Diego Goris and Dane Phillips each plated one run, and Chris Burke knocked in two as part of an eight-batter inning.
Fort Wayne (43-26) starter Justin Hancock (5-1),who worked five innings, stumbled a bit in the first inning issuing two walks and allowing a run to score. The TinCaps bolstered his run support (6.5 runs/game) with four more in the fourth, as Brian Adams drove home two runs, as did Goris. West Michigan starter Edgar De La Rosa (3-2) took the loss, going 3 1/3 innings, allowing eight earned runs on nine hits, walking one and striking out none.
The Whitecaps once again had a response, getting one run in the home half of the fourth inning, and when the frame closed, the TinCaps led, 8-2.
Both teams traded single runs in both the sixth and eighth innings, with the Whitecaps scoring one final run in the bottom of the ninth to pull within five. West Michigan's late efforts were aided by the Fort Wayne bullpen, which walked five batters in four innings. With three walks from the starter Hancock, the team tied its season high for walks with eight, which was set on April 14th against Lake County.
The 43 victories are the second-best first half a Fort Wayne club has ever had, trailing only the 45-win attack of the 2009 TinCaps. The best half in team history came in the second half of 2009, when the team won 49 games.
Fort Wayne will be off for the next three days, but four players-Roman Madrid, Joe Ross, Dane Phillips and Luis Tejada-will represent the TinCaps in the Midwest League All-Star game Tuesday night at Fifth Third Field in Dayton, Ohio. The game can be heard on The Fan 1380 and TheFanFortWayne.com.