(Eastlake, OH) - Quentin Holmes ignited the offense and the bullpen held serve down the stretch for the Lake County Captains (20-15) on Monday night. The Captains opened their seven-game homestand with a 4-3 win over the Fort Wayne TinCaps (15-20) at Classic Park.
Holmes got the Captains off to a fast start. On the first pitch of the opening inning, Holmes took TinCaps starter Ramon Perez deep into the left field bleachers to give the Captains a 1-0 lead.
Captains starter Shane McCarthy made that lead stand up. The right-hander spun five shutout innings to keep Fort Wayne off the scoreboard. The TinCaps only made one serious threat against McCarthy in those first five frames and it came in the fifth when Luis Almanzar hit a line drive to the gap in left field with two outs. Holmes got to the ball quickly and held Almanzar to a single. After a balk and a passed ball, however, Almanzar was on third. McCarthy got a check-swing for strike three on Lee Solomon to end the inning.
The Captains' offense responded with insurance for McCarthy in the bottom of the frame. Holmes again keyed the offense, this time with a bunt base hit to lead off the inning. With Tyler Freeman at the plate, Holmes took off on the pitch and Freeman punched a single through the right side to put men on the corners. Perez then tried to pick off Freeman and the TinCaps had the runner caught between first and second, but Holmes took off from third after Solomon dropped the ball at first in the middle of the rundown. Solomon fired home, but Holmes beat the tag to push the Captains' lead to 2-0. Ruben Cardenas followed with a single to move Freeman over to third and, after right-hander Austin Smith came in to relieve Perez, Mitch Reeves hit a high chopper to the third, which allowed Freeman to score. Cardenas later advanced to third on a balk and scored to make it 4-0 when Bo Naylor singled to left.
After McCarthy blanked Fort Wayne over the first five frames, the TinCaps ounted a comeback in the sixth. McCarthy issued a leadoff walk to Jawuan Harris and Xavier Edwards followed with a single that fell short out of Freeman's reach at shortstop. Tucupita Marcano then singled to load the bases with nobody out. Agustin Ruiz came up next and hit a bloop single to center that scored Harris from third and put the TinCaps on the board, trimming the Captains' lead to 4-1. McCarthy then walked Williams-Sutton to bring home Edwards and was pulled from the game with the bags still full and the Captains' lead cut to 4-2.
Aaron Pinto replaced McCarthy and promptly gave up an RBI single Justin Lopez to score Marcano and cut the Captains' lead to one run, but the right-hander stopped the bleeding right there. Pinto struck out Blake Hunt and Almanzar back-to-back and then got Solomon to ground a 3-2 pitch to shortstop for the final out to keep Lake County ahead, 4-3.
The Captains' bullpen closed out the win with three shutout innings. After Pinto pitched a scoreless seventh, Luis Araujo tossed a one-two-three eighth and Manuel Alvarez earned his fourth save with a perfect ninth. Alvarez capped the night by catching Harris looking for strike three to end the ballgame.
McCarthy (4-2) earned the win after pitching five innings and allowing three runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out four.
Perez (0-2) took the loss for Fort Wayne. The lefty pitched four innings and allowed four runs on four hits. He walked five, hit one batter and struck out two.
The Captains go for the series win on Tuesday in game two of their three-game series with Fort Wayne. First pitch at Classic Park is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Individual game tickets for all Captains games are on sale at the Classic Park box office, online at captainsbaseball.com and by phone at 440-954-WINS (9467). Mini ticket plans for the 2019 season are still available for great prices complete with several exclusive benefits. Information can be found at the Captains website www.captainsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.