Updated: Saturday, 01 Sep 2012, 11:38 PM EDT
Published : Saturday, 01 Sep 2012, 11:38 PM EDT
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Bowling Green Hot Rods only needed two hits to defeat the TinCaps on Saturday night, but they were big hits. A solo home run by Jake Hager and an eighth-inning grand slam from Jeff Malm helped the Hot Rods to a 5-3 win over the Fort Wayne TinCaps at Bowling Green Ballpark. With a Fort Wayne loss and a Lake County win, the TinCaps secured the second half wild-card spot and will play the first-half champion Lansing Lugnuts in the opening round of the playoffs.
Fort Wayne (36-31, 67-70) fell behind 1-0 in the first inning on Hager’s solo home run. Beyond that, TinCaps starter Frank Garces was dominant. He retired the next ten batters to come to the plate and he allowed just one other base runner over his five innings of work. He finished his five innings having struck out five and walked one.
The TinCaps went to work on Bowling Green (41-27, 78-59) starter Jake Partridge. Fort Wayne catcher Chris O’Dowd, playing in his first Midwest League game, walked to begin the third inning and Yeison Asencio followed with a single. Travis Jankowski then also singled, scoring O’Dowd and stretching his hitting streak to 15 games. During the streak, Jankowski is hitting 27-60 (.450). Travis Whitmore followed by grounding into a double play, which scored Asencio and made it 2-1 in favor of the TinCaps.
They added another run in the third inning as Duanel Jones walked to begin the frame, advanced to second on a walk to Kyle Gaedele, and took both third and home on wild pitches from Partridge.
The Fort Wayne advantage held until the eighth inning when Cody Hebner (7-7) issued three consecutive one-out walks. He was removed from the game in favor of Johnny Barbato, who entered the game with one out, and induced a pop-out for the second out of the inning. Barbato then allowed a grand slam to Jeff Malm, which put Bowling Green on top, 5-3. Bowling Green's Nick Sawyer (1-0) earned the win with two scoreless innings of relief, holding the TinCaps at bay in the eighth and ninth.
It was the first grand slam allowed by the TinCaps in almost exactly two years. Bowling Green’s Burt Reynolds hit a grand slam on August 31, 2010, against Fort Wayne in a 13-9 TinCaps win at Bowling Green ballpark.
Game two of the series is scheduled for 3:05 ET on Sunday afternoon. The scheduled starters are Colin Rea for Fort Wayne and Felipe Rivero for Bowling Green.
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