LANSING, Mich. - Josh Winckowski was brilliant for seven innings and the Lansing Lugnuts (15-21) snapped a six-game losing streak and ruined Garrett Hill's perfect ERA with a 4-2 series-opening win over the West Michigan Whitecaps (16-19) on Monday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
The Lugnuts had gone 0-6 in a pair of three-game road series vs. Quad Cities and Kane County during the previous week, but looked far more comfortable back home in winning their fourth consecutive meeting with West Michigan.
Winckowski (Win, 3-1) set the tone, matching a career high with seven innings, striking out four, and allowing five hits, one walk and just a Reece Hampton third-inning RBI single. In the process, he lowered his ERA to 1.70.
With the score tied 1-1 in the seventh, Mc Gregory Contreras ignited a three-run tie-breaking rally with an RBI single off Hill (Loss, 2-1). Tanner Kirwer followed with an RBI bunt single, bringing in Rafael Lantigua , with Contreras also racing home for a 4-1 lead when first baseman Jordan Pearce threw the ball away.
In the eighth, Nick Ames's RBI double brought the 'Caps within two and put the tying runs in scoring position, but Cre Finfrock struck out Ulrich Bojarski and Parker Meadows and retired Pearce on a grounder to first.
The Whitecaps again threatened in the ninth, with Sam McMillan reaching third and Reece Hampton reaching second on a Jackson Rees wild pitch. But Rees (Save, 1) bore down and struck out Perez before Johnny Valente's nubber was handled by catcher Ryan Gold to end the game.
Whitecaps starter Hill (Loss, 2-1) brought a 0.00 earned run average into the night thanks to 26 scoreless innings, but the streak was snapped in the second inning. With two outs, Jake Brodt reached on a fielding error by shortstop Wenceel Perez. Rafael Lantigua followed with an RBI triple for a 1-0 lead.
In all, Hill allowed four runs, two earned, on five hits and a walk in 6 1/3 innings, striking out seven. His ERA rose from 0.00 to 0.56.
In the win, three Lugnuts - Lantigua, Contreras and Nick Podkul - each collected two hits, with Podkul extending his on-base streak to 22 straight games.
Tuesday morning is the second game of the three-game series as well as the first of two straight Grand Slam School Days with 10:35 a.m. start times. Lugnuts right-hander Josh Hiatt (2.57) will oppose West Michigan right-hander Gio Arriera (6.23) on a Taco Tuesday with $2 tacos! To live the Lug Life and purchase tickets, 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.