MIDLAND, Mich. - Facing 21-year-old Cuban righty Michel Baez for the first time this season, the Great Lakes Loons we're stumped in finding offense in a 3-1 loss to the Fort Wayne TinCaps on Monday night at Dow Diamond.
Signed by the San Diego Padres for $3 million as an international free agent in the 2016 signing period, Baez (W, 5-0) has started his Midwest League career about as well as anyone could hope for. Baez has now logged 36 2/3 innings and has only allowed three earned runs. On Monday, Baez pitched seven innings and ceded just four hits and one walk. Maybe even more impressive than the ERA for Baez has been the strikeout totals, which after nine more against the Loons is now 56 in 36 2/3 innings.
The Loons were nearly shutout for the first time since early June, but a mini rally in the 9th inning prevented that. Against Mark Zimmerman, Great Lakes scored their only run of the game on an RBI-single by Carlos Rincon. Eventually, two walks loaded the bases and Fort Wayne inserted right-hander Jose Galindo (S, 1), who shut the door on the Loons by getting Dodgers 2017 1st-round pick Jeren Kendall to ground out.
Fort Wayne scored their runs early. Reinaldo Ilarraza singled and got to second on the play due to the first of two errors on Rincon, who was playing in right field. Jorge Ona scored Ilarraza on a double just one at-bat later.
In the second inning, switch-hitting Buddy Reed gave Fort Wayne a 2-0 lead off Loons starter Carlos Felix. Felix (L, 1-1) was making his Dow Diamond debut. The 8th inning saw an RBI knock from A.J. Kennedy to add a run of insurance for the 'Caps.
Going into the series finale tomorrow, the Loons (20-24, 56-57) have lost three straight. Fort Wayne (29-15, 55-59) continues on their path for a second-half playoff berth in the Midwest League Eastern Divison.
Now the Loons just try and avoid being swept at home on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 with new Loon Marshall Kasowski set to make his Loons debut. Kasowski was added to the Loons roster on Sunday. Catch radio coverage on ESPN 100.9-FM beginning at 6:35.
The Great Lakes Loons are the 2016 Midwest League Champions and have been a Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2007. Dow Diamond, home of the Loons, also houses ESPN 100.9-FM and the Michigan Baseball Foundation. For tickets and more information about the Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.