COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. - West Michigan scored five runs on four hits and a crucial error by the Loons in the seventh inning to take control of a game in which the Loons led twice and win 7-3 on a chilly Monday night at Fifth Third Ballpark.
The Loons fall to 2-3 on the season, while West Michigan improves to 3-1.
The Whitecaps began the inning with consecutive singles off Loons' reliever, right-hander Alfredo Tavarez (L, 0-1). Tavarez had allowed just one run on two hits through three innings before the seventh, but with runners and first and second and no one out, Tavarez committed a crucial error that allowed West Michigan to tie the game.
A fine bunt by Alexis Sanchez was fielded cleanly on the third-base side of the mound by Tavarez, who attempted to throw to third and force out West Michigan's lead runner. However, the throw sailed up the left field line and into the bullpen, and Joey Morgan scored to tie the game at 3-3.
After Cole Peterson grounded out, the Loons intentionally walked Luke Burch to load the bases (first had been open) and beckoned for righty Dan Jagiello out of the bullpen.
Jagiello had no play on a weak ground ball to the left of the mound from Dylan Rosa, and West Michigan grabbed the lead. A one-out, two-RBI double by Colby Bortles, younger brother of Blake, opened the wound to 6-3. A sacrifice fly later in the frame salted the Loons away and ended the scoring.
The Loons led 2-1 in the game and took a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh on a fielder's choice throwing error on Morgan, West Michigan's catcher. Starling Heredia registered his third straight multi-hit game for the Loons.
After a quick turnaround, the Loons and Whitecaps reconvene at noon on Tuesday for game two of the four-game series. Coverage can be heard on ESPN 100.9-FM, ESPN1009.com, Loons.com and on mobile devices using the TuneIn App.
The Loons will return to Dow Diamond next weekend for a three-game homestand against the Dayton Dragons on April 13-15. Friday's game will begin at 6:05 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday will both be matinees starting at 2:05 p.m.
The Great Lakes Loons have been the Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team's inception in 2007. Dow Diamond serves as the team's home and also houses the Michigan Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, and ESPN 100.9-FM. For tickets or information about the Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.