COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. - Hagen Danner's fourth home run of the season broke a 2-2 tie and started a three-run seventh-inning rally, and the Lansing Lugnuts (6-6) took down the West Michigan Whitecaps (5-7) for a second straight night, 5-2, on Tuesday night at Fifth Third Ballpark.
The Lugnuts used another great starting pitching effort and some early runs to set the tone on the west side.
The 20-year-old Danner, the Blue Jays' second-round selection in the 2017 draft, led off the seventh inning with a no-doubt home run to left off Whitecaps reliever Sandel De La Cruz (Loss, 0-1) - his second home run off De La Cruz in less than a week, tying him with Peoria's Nolan Gorman for the Midwest League lead.
Jordan Groshans followed later in the frame with a two-run single, plating Johnny Aiello and Reggie Pruitt . It was the second straight night that the Lugnuts put together a late-inning rally with three or more runs, after scoring four in the top of the 10th to win the series opener, 6-2, on Monday night.
The tie-breaking rally made a winner of Lugnuts starter Joey Murray (Win, 2-1), who
set professional highs with seven innings and eighth strikeouts - the longest outing by a Lugnuts pitcher this season.
Marcus Reyes pitched the eighth inning, working around a couple of walks with a strikeout of Whitecaps star Nick Ames.
Connor Law (Save, 1) closed out the ninth, striking out the side to earn the Lugnuts' first save of the season. Law struck the final two batters out looking after taking a line drive off his chest on a swing from Parker Meadows, resulting in an infield single.
Lansing opened the scoring in the top of the third. After walking, stealing a base, and then reaching third on a throwing error, D.J. Neal was batted home on an RBI ground out from Reggie Pruitt for a 1-0 Nuts lead. West Michigan came right back to tie it at 1-1 in the bottom half of the inning on a Johnny Valente RBI single.
The Lugnuts answered with a Danner RBI triple in the top of the fourth, scoring Jake Brodt , but the Whitecaps responded in the bottom of the fourth with three singles against Joey Murray to tie the score at 2-2.
Tomorrow, the Lansing Lugnuts go for the sweep against the West Michigan Whitecaps, closing out their six-game road trip. RHP Juan De Paula (9.00 ERA) battles West Michigan left-hander Adam Wolf (4.00) with first pitch at 12 noon from Fifth Third Ballpark.
The next Lansing Lugnuts home game will be this Thursday, opening a six-game, seven-day homestand: a Labatt Blue Thirsty Thursday: The Purge Night! Sometime during the game, a siren will sound - at which point all food and non-alcoholic beverages are free until the inning comes to an end!
To purchase tickets and live the Lug Life at Cooley Law School Stadium, visit lansinglugnuts.com or call (517) 485-4500.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.