LANSING, Mich. - Thanks to the strong pitching of Matt Gunter and Kyle Weatherly and a pair of costly South Bend Cubs errors, the Lansing Lugnuts (11-5, 54-32) rallied past the Cubs (8-8, 42-43), 3-1, on Friday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
The gratifying turnaround halted a three-game Lugnuts losing streak.
It was Gunter's best start as a member of the Lugs: six innings, tying a career high, while striking out four and allowing six hits and one walk. The 2017 33rd-rounder picked two Cubs off and limited the visitors to solely a Rafael Narea second-inning RBI single.
It looked as if these efforts might be in vain. Cubs starter Erling Moreno fired 5 1/3 shutout innings, and reliever Garrett Kelly (Loss, 0-1) finished off the sixth and retired the first two batters of the seventh.
But Owen Spiwak sparked the crowd of 4,651 with a single that was mishandled by right fielder Brandon Hughes, allowing Spiwak to race to second. Kevin Vicuna followed with what should have been the third out, a routine grounder to Zinn that went through the shortstop's legs. Spiwak stampeded through a stop sign at third to score the game-tying run and allow Vicuña to take second. Norberto Obeso then lined a single to center, bringing in Vicuña for a 2-1 Lugnuts lead.
Ryan Noda added insurance, crushing the first pitch of the bottom of the eighth inning over the ribbon board in right field for his 11th home run of the year.
Weatherly (Win, 2-0) took care of the final three innings, giving up a pair of hits and striking out three. The Texan right-hander has pitched 14 consecutive scoreless innings.
Both Freddy Rodriguez and Chavez Young went 2-for-4 with a single and a double in the winning effort
The Lugnuts are expected to activate right-hander Turner Larkins (4.25 ERA) to start the second game of the four-game series, a 7:05 p.m. Saturday affair against Cubs right-hander Javier Assad (3.72 ERA) with postgame LAFCU Fireworks! To 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.