MIDLAND, Mich. - Great Lakes Loons starting pitcher Chris Mathewson struck out a career high nine, but the Fort Wayne TinCaps snuck away with a game two victory on Sunday afternoon at Dow Diamond 4-3.
Fort Wayne (28-15, 54-59) has now taken each of the first two games of the series. Great Lakes (20-23, 56-56), who tallied just two hits against TinCaps starter Ronal Bolanos in the game can now only earn a split in the series.
The TinCaps are on pace to set a franchise record for most home runs in a season this year and they got two from two of the top home run hitters in the Midwest League en route to the win. Brad Zunica allowed Fort Wayne to crack the scoreboard first with a solo shot off Mathewson (L, 3-3) in the 2nd inning. Then Fernando Tatis, Jr. cracked his 19th long ball of the year to give the TinCaps the final lead of the day in the 5th.
Mathewson, who is currently in the best stretch of his season, had been lights out over his last three starts allowing just two earned runs in 19 innings during that time. On Sunday, a career high nine strikeouts carried him through six innings, but allowing four earned runs raised his season ERA from 2.99 to 3.21.
Credit the Loons for tying the game on two separate occasions, and coming very close to doing so again when the game was ultimately called in the top of the 6th inning. Gavin Lux, who had two walks, was stranded at third base when the rain became too much and the tarp came on.
Bolanos (W, 4-2), a Cuban right-hander, battled his command by walking five Loons, but weathered the storm nicely. The scoring plays for the Loons included an RBI-double for Jared Walker and an RBI-ground out from Cristian Santana.
Because the game went a full five innings it is a regulation game per Midwest League rules.
Game 3 of the series on Monday is People's Choice night at Dow Diamond with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. EDT. Radio coverage gets underway 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.