BURLINGTON, IA - The Great Lakes Loons saw their five-game winning streak come to an end with a 3-2 loss to the Burlington Bees on Thursday night at Community Field in eastern Iowa. Burlington never trailed in the game, and bounced back from being shut out in consecutive games to even up the teams' three-game series at a win apiece.
The Bees wasted little time in breaking their 21-plus inning scoreless streak, plating a run in their first turn at bat. Loons starter Brandon Martinez, on the mound for the first time in 11 days, walked leadoff batter Kody Eaves on four pitches, then gave up a one-out single to Mike Fish to put runners at the corners with one out. Eric Aguilera got Burlington on the board with a sacrifice fly.
The teams traded runs in each of the next two frames. Great Lakes tied the game in the second on four consecutive one-out singles, the last by Spencer Navin to score Josmar Cordero, who started the hit parade. But Burlington answered with consecutive doubles by Ryan Dalton and Ranyelmy Mendoza to reclaim a one-run lead.
In the top of the third, a hit by pitch of Jesmuel Valentin and a sacrifice by Alex Santana that led to an error put runners at the corners for the Loons with no outs. Later in the inning, Valentin scored when Santana got in a rundown after an attempted steal of second base. Aguilera got what turned out to be the game-winning RBI on the bottom of the inning on his second sacrifice fly of the game.
Both bullpens shut things down the rest of the way. Ralston Cash (3 IP, 0 H, 1 BB) and Mark Pope (1 IP, 1 H) kept the Bees offense in check after Martinez worked the first four innings, allowing all three runs and six of Burlington's seven hits in the game. He fell to 1-6 on the year with the loss.
Bees starter Daniel Hurtado also left the game after four innings, with Brian Loconsole getting the win with two scoreless innings in relief. Cole Swanson worked 1 2/3 innings, and Ben Carlson got his ninth save of the year by getting the last four outs. The Loons put runners on second and third with two outs in the ninth against Carlson, but he got Valentin to fly out to right center to end the game.
The series wraps up on Friday night when Loons right-hander Scott Barlow (4-4, 4.50 ERA) opposes Bees righty Garrett Nuss (4-1, 4.03) in Burlington, Iowa. Game time is 7:30 EDT, with radio coverage starting at 7 p.m. on ESPN 100.9 FM.
The Great Lakes Loons are an eighth-year Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. For tickets and more information about the Loons, visit Loons.com, or call 989-837-BALL.