LANSING, Mich. – Denzel Clarke hit an inside-the-park home run for the second consecutive game and the Lansing Lugnuts (13-19, 38-60) beat the West Michigan Whitecaps (22-10, 53-45), 8-1, in a rain-shortened Wednesday matinee at Jackson® Field™.
With the heat index above 100 degrees to begin the game, rehabbing Detroit
LANSING, Mich. – D**enzel* *Clarke** hit an inside-the-park home run for the second consecutive game and the Lansing Lugnuts (13-19, 38-60) beat the West Michigan Whitecaps (22-10, 53-45), 8-1, in a rain-shortened Wednesday matinee at Jackson® Field™.
With the heat index above 100 degrees to begin the game, rehabbing Detroit Tigers southpaw Joey Wentz limited the Lugnuts to an Euribiel Ángeles single and a Max Muncy walk in three scoreless innings and Trei Cruz’s fourth-inning solo home run gave West Michigan a 1-0 lead.
But the Lugnuts’ offense rose up against the Whitecaps’ pen. In the fifth inning, Shane McGuire tripled off of Bryce Tassin for his first Midwest League hit, Brayan Buelvas was hit by a pitch, and Gabriel Maciel tripled in both of them for a 2-1 Lugnuts lead. Three batters later, Maciel raced home on a Jack Winkler infield single to cap a three-run rally.
Clarke seized the spotlight in the sixth. A day after sprinting around the bases after his line drive into the left field corner eluded Austin Murr, Clarke drilled an RJ Petit offering off the right-center wall, with the ball bouncing back past center fielder Ben Malgeri. Unlike his first inside-the-park home run, there was no play at the plate. Clarke scored standing, his momentum carrying him racing into his dugout with his fifth home run in the MWL. He is the first Nut since Tim Locastro in 2015 with two inside-the-park home runs in one year.
Later in the frame, Alexander Campos and Jared McDonald delivered two-run singles to close out a five-run inning and put the game out of reach.
The Lugnuts’ bullpen took care of the rest. After starter Christian Fernandez went 3 2/3 innings, allowing Cruz’s home run, Angello Infante tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings, Kumar Nambiar worked a scoreless seventh and Brock Whittlesey fired a scoreless eighth and recorded one out in the ninth before a heavy thunderstorm halted the game.
In the win, Maciel finished 2-for-3 with a single, triple, walk and two runs scored; McGuire went 2-for-5 with a double and a triple; and leadoff hitter Max Muncy drew three walks, stole a base and scored a run.
On the down side, Lugnuts third baseman Ángeles left the game early due to precautionary reasons after being hit by a pitch by West Michigan reliever Tassin.
The third game of the six-game series is set for a Labatt Blue Thirsty Thursday, featuring Lugnuts right-hander Joey Estes (5.59 ERA) against Whitecaps right-hander Keider Montero (6.03 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit lansinglugnuts.com or call (517) 485-4500.
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