MIDLAND, Mich. - The Great Lakes Loons jumped all over Lansing in the first inning of Friday night's game at Dow Diamond, but were never able to put the Lugnuts down for the count.
Lansing surrendered three runs in the first inning, trailed for most of the game, then rallied late for an eventual 6-4 win over the Loons in 11 innings before 4,324 fans at Dow Diamond.
The loss was the second in a row for the Loons, who are 4-4 in the second half. It was their sixth game of the half that has been decided by two runs or less.
The Loons had several strong individual performances in defeat. Jesmuel Valentin had four hits in five at-bats, including two doubles, while Alex Santana went 3 for 5 with a home run. Starting pitcher Brandon Martinez gave up two earned runs in five innings but struck out a career-high 10 batters.
Relief pitcher Victor Araujo, meanwhile, pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 0.84. Araujo has given up just 16 hits in 40 1/3 innings this season.
The Loons struck for three runs in the first after Valentin led off with a double and Brandon Trinkwon followed with a single. Josmar Cordero then single in one run, while Joey Curletta's single with two outs drove in two more runs.
But Lansing slowly dug themselves out of its early hole.
Derrick Loveless homered off the foul pole in right in the second inning, while D.J. Davis singled in a run in the fifth off of Martinez. Davis then homered off of Loons reliever Kyle Hooper leading off the eighth to tie the score.
The Loons had a good opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the ninth when Santana singled leading off, and then took second on a sacrifice bunt by Jose Capellan. Lugnuts reliever Scott Silverstein then intentionally walked Valentin, but ended the threat by getting Dillon Moyer on a foul out to catcher and striking out Webster Rivas.
The Lugnuts broke the game open by scoring three runs in the 11th off of Loons reliever Jacob Rhame. Dawal Lugo led off with a single and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly. David Harris made it 6-3 with a two-run homer to left.
Santana homered with one out for the Loons in the bottom of the 11th, but Lansing closer Griffin Murphy retired the next two batters for his 14th save. Silverstein (8-3) earned the win, while Rhame (3-3) took the loss.
The two teams play again Saturday night (7:05 p.m.) with the Loons Scott Barlow (2-2, 3.99 ERA) facing Lansing's Jeremy Gabryszewski (5-2, 3.35). It will be Harry Potter Night at Dow Diamond, while there will also be a postgame Fireworks Loontacular, powered by Dow Corning.
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.