MIDLAND, Mich. - The Great Lakes Loons league-leading offense was slow to ignite Friday, but when it did the results were familiar.
The Loons spotted Bowling Green a 3-0 lead at Dow Diamond but rallied for five runs in their final three at-bats for a 5-4 win. It was the third win in a row for the Loons (20-21) and the fourth in five games on their current homestand.
"That's kind of how our team is," said Loons manager Bill Haselman. "We're not doing much and then we start putting some things together."
The Loons were held in check - and then some - by Bowling Green right-hander Jamie Schultz, who was making his first appearance of the season after being called up from extended spring training. The hard-throwing Schultz struck out nine batters and allowed just two hits before being pulled by Hot Rods manager Michael Johns with two outs in the fifth.
Bowling Green reliever Aaron Griffin struck out the only batter he faced in the fifth - with a runner perched on a third - but ran into immediate trouble in the sixth as the Loons offense came to life. Dillon Moyer led off with a single, and Griffin followed by hitting Malcolm Holland with a pitch. Jacob Scavuzzo then rifled a ball down the left field line to score both Moyer and Holland.
Kyle Farmer became the fourth straight Loons batter to reach base when he singled home Holland to tie the game at 3-3.
The Loons took their first lead in the seventh when Alex Santana led off the inning with a double and later came home on a wild pitch. Bowling Green tied it at 4-4 on a single by Oscar Hernandez in the top of the eighth, but the Loons struck again in the bottom of the inning against Hot Rods reliever Stone Speer.
Farmer led off the inning with a single, took second on a wild pitch, then came home with one out when Josmar Cordero singled to right. Cordero is batting an even .500 (15 for 30) in seven games with the Loons.
"He has a very good approach," Haselman said of Cordero. "He's really good at adjusting from pitch to pitch."
That left It up to Loons closer Mark Pope, who earned his third save - while lowering his ERA to 0.60 - by pitching a scoreless ninth. Pope gave up a two-out single to Kean Wong, but struck out designated hitter Armando Araiza looking with a curveball.
"That was one of the best pitches I've ever thrown, to be honest," said Pope. "I saw how he was with the curveball earlier in the count and I knew I wanted to come back with it."
"That," said Haselman, "was a nasty pitch."
The win went to Loons reliever Greg Harris, who gave up one earned run in three innings. Now 3-4, Harris struck out four batters. Loons starter Victor Arano pitched 3 1/3 innings and allowed three earned runs before being relieved by Luis Chinos, who pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Loons relievers have allowed just two earned runs in their last 18 2/3 innings of work with 24 strikeouts.
The two teams meet again tomorrow when Jonathan Martinez (4-4) of the Loons faces Bowling Green's Blake Snell (2-2). Game time is 7:05 p.m. at Dow Diamond.
The Great Lakes Loons are an eighth-year Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. For tickets and more information, call 989-837-BALL or visit loons.com.