Lansing, MI - The Clinton LumberKings (11-18, 41-56) were one strike away from their fifth win in six games, another road series victory, and a one-run triumph. But closer Emilio Pagan allowed a game-tying infield single in the ninth, and Aaron Brooks allowed his second home run of the season - a walk-off by D.J. Davis, his seventh, to straightaway center - giving the Lansing Lugnuts (14-15, 46-52) a thrilling 4-3 victory at Cooley Law School Stadium.
Carlos Misell, vying for his ninth win, had to look on from the dugout after exiting the game with two outs in the sixth. He allowed just two runs on three hits and one walk, continuing the rotation's recent surge of solid pitching.
The right-hander left the game with the tying run at second base, and Seon Gi Kim worked around an infield single to short by getting Davis on a grounder back to the mound.
Toronto's 2012 first-round pick also had RBI chances in the fourth and eighth innings, but Davis couldn't come through with runners on base. In the eighth, left-hander Paul Fry inherited runners at second and third with two outs, and got Davis to roll over an 0-and-2 pitch to short. Kim and Fry had combined for 2.1 innings of scoreless relief.
But things unraveled in the ninth.
Pagan allowed a leadoff double to Dickie Joe Thon on his first pitch out of the bullpen. Jason Leblebijian then flied to the warning track in right, moving Thon to third with one away. Pagan was on the brink of escaping any damage after getting Daniel Klein to pop to third, but Chaz Frank battled with two strikes and beat out a grounder in the hole at short, scoring Thon.
The LumberKings went quietly in the top of the tenth and Davis got his redemption in the bottom half, launching a 1-0 pitch over the wall in center off of Brooks (5-3).
Clinton struck first against Jeremy Gabryszwski, plating one run in the first. Jack Reinheimer singled to short, swiped second, and came home on Justin Seager's two-out run-scoring single to center.
The Lugnuts tied the game in the third, thanks to Thon who led all hitters with three hits. The second baseman grounded a double past Jeff Zimmerman at first into right and ended up at third after Chantz Mack misplayed the ball. Leblebijian followed with a sacrifice fly to left.
The L'Kings put up two runs in the sixth on three straight singles by Barbosa, Reinheimer, and Mack. Lansing posted one run of their own in the home half to pull within one, 3-2.
Lansing nearly walked off for the win in the ninth against Pagan. Frank's single tied the game and Derrick Loveless then smashed a single on a hit-and-run, moving the winning run to third. Lansing's No. 3 hitter Mitch Nay stepped up and hit a shallow fly ball to right-center out of reach of both Barbosa and Lonnie Kauppila but Mack saved the game - momentarily - with a diving catch to force extras.
Clinton is now 4-12 in extra-inning games and sits with a league-worst 7-20 record in one-run affairs.
The LumberKings and Lugnuts meet again Monday for the final game of their three-game series with first pitch set for 11:05 AM CT. Clinton will send left-hander Blake Holovach (5-3, 3.61) to the mound against Lugnuts southpaw Shane Dawson (3-5, 3.38). The broadcast can be heard on WCCI 100.3 FM, wcciradio.com, and lumberkings.com.