LANSING, Mich. - First baseman Yorman Rodriguez finished a home run short of the cycle in his Midwest League debut, going 4-for-5 with three runs and three RBIs, and the Lansing Lugnuts (23-24, 55-61) routed the South Bend Cubs (25-22, 62-53), 12-2, in front of a Friday night crowd of 8,009 at Cooley Law School Stadium.
It was the Lugnuts' largest margin of victory in 2019 and the club's 16 hits tied the season high.
With 23 games remaining in the season, the Nuts pulled within two games of the Cubs for the Eastern Division wild card.
Freshly off representing the Vancouver Canadians in the Northwest League/Pioneer League All-Star Game, the 22-year-old Rodriguez began his impactful evening with an RBI double in the third inning off South Bend starter Derek Casey (Loss, 4-7), tying the score at 1-1. Three batters later, he tagged and scored on a Rafael Lantigua sacrifice fly caught by South Bend shortstop Andy Weber in shallow centerfield, giving the Lugnuts a lead they would not relinquish.
The Nuts added four runs in the fourth inning, Rodriguez providing the key blow with a two-run triple to the right-center gap.
Two innings later, the Lugnuts blew the game wide open with a five-run sixth against reliever Fauris Guerrero. Rodriguez led off the inning with a single to right field, stole second, took third on a throwing error by catcher Marcus Mastrobuoni, and scored on a Griffin Conine single to left. Rafael Lantigua followed with an RBI triple to left-center, coming home himself on a throwing error by Weber - one of three errors in the game for the South Bend shortstop. LJ Talley capped off the inning three batters later with a two-run homer, his second straight game with a home run.
Talley then closed out the scoring with an RBI single in the eighth inning off Sean Barry.
Lugnuts starter Fitz Stadler (Win, 4-6) set a career high with six innings, striking out four while limiting the Cubs to two runs on five hits and walk.
Marcus Reyes pitched the seventh and eighth innings scorelessly, and Juan Nuñez struck out three in a hitless ninth.
Beyond Rodriguez, the Lugnuts received two-hit games from Conine, Lantigua, Talley, Otto Lopez , Jake Brodt and Hunter Steinmetz .
The Lugnuts now leave Michigan for a three-game series in Dayton through Monday, returning to Cooley Law School Stadium on Wednesday, August 14th, to open a seven-game homestand. To live the Lug Life and purchase tickets, visit lansinglugnuts.com, call (517) 485-4500 or come to the Cooley Law School Stadium box office at 505 E. Michigan Ave. in downtown Lansing.
# # #
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.