MIDLAND, Mich. - The Great Lakes Loons' struggle to score runs is showing up in their bottom line.
The Loons were shut out for the second time in four games Wednesday as the suddenly-strong Fort Wayne TinCaps posted a 4-0 win before 3,963 fans - and an estimated 234 dogs - on Bark in the Park Night at Dow Diamond. It was the sixth loss in eight games for the Loons, who are vying for a Midwest League playoff berth with an offense that has gone missing.
Now 17-21 in the second half, the Loons have not scored more than four runs since a 9-5 win on July 20 over Kane County. Wednesday's game was also the fourth time they've been shutout this month.
"You saw the same game I did," said Loons manager Bill Haselman. "I don't know what to tell you, but we have to get something going (offensively) here pretty quick."
Fort Wayne limited the Loons to three hits and got a strong performance from starting pitcher Kyle Lloyd, who pitched six scoreless innings in which he struck out eight batters and allowed only two hits. It also got another eye-opening effort from shortstop Trea Turner, who homered on the game's second pitch and drove in the TinCaps' final run in the ninth inning.
Turner, the No. 1 pick of the San Diego Padres in the June MLB draft, is batting .476 for Fort Wayne in 16 games.
"He's a good player, no question," said Haselman. "You can see why they drafted him that high."
Turner's first-inning homer gave the TinCaps the only lead they would need, but was one of only a few blemishes on the night for Loons starter Brandon Martinez. The Loons desperately needed a strong, and lengthy, performance from Martinez after using six pitchers in Tuesday's 12-inning game, and he went 6 1/3 innings while giving up three runs.
"We really needed him tonight and he gave us everything he had," said Haselman. "We're a little thin right now in our pitching. We've used a lot of guys lately, especially in our bullpen, but those guys have been outstanding."
The Loons also lost perhaps their most consistent starter, right-hander Jonathan Martinez, who was traded to the Chicago Cubs organization in a deal that sent infielder Darwin Barney to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Martinez was tied for the team lead in wins and also led the Loons in starter's ERA and WHIP.
After Turner's home run gave them a quick lead, the TinCaps scored single runs in the sixth, seventh and ninth innings. On the flip side, the Loons didn't advance a runner past first base until Jacob Scavuzzo tripled with two outs in the eighth inning. But Fort Wayne reliever Jorge Guzman got out of the jam by retiring Brandon Trinkwon on a pop out to second.
Lloyd was credited with the win and improved to 5-4 on the season. Fort Wayne has won 12 of its last 17 games after suffering through a franchise-record 13-game losing streak earlier in the month.
Brandon Martinez, now 1-7, took the loss.
The teams conclude their series Thursday night (7:05 p.m.). Right-hander Scott Barlow (4-5, 4.74 ERA) will start for the Loons, while Jeffery Enloe (3-3, 2.05) starts for Fort Wayne.
Thursday is $1 Family Feast Night at Dow Diamond, presented by Chemical Bank. Fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs, 16 oz. Pepsi products, ice cream sandwiches and Better Made Chips all night long.
The Great Lakes Loons are an eighth-year Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. For tickets and more information, 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.