t took 3 hours and 36 minutes, and it wasn’t always pretty, but the TinCaps are back in playoff position. Fort Wayne beat the Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians affiliate), 9-8, on Wednesday night at Classic Park. With 25 games to go in the regular season, the ‘Caps hold the Midwest League Eastern Division’s second-half wild card.
The TinCaps (20-24, 52-61) rode the contributions of a pair of newcomers to victory in this series opener. Earlier on Wednesday, the Padres promoted infielders Owen Miller and Olivier Basabe from Short-Season Tri-City to Fort Wayne’s roster. The Northwest League All-Stars made instant impacts.
Miller, a 21-year-old from Wisconsin who was drafted by San Diego in the third round of June’s draft out of Illinois State, broke a 5-5 tie with two outs in the top of the fourth inning with a two-run homer to left field.
Later in the seventh, Basabe made his first hit with the ‘Caps an extra-base one as well – a two-out, RBI triple to the opposite corner in right that made it a 9-5 game at the time.
That insurance proved important as the Captains (18-26, 47-67) scored three runs (one earned) in the bottom of the ninth and threatened with the tying run in scoring position.
TinCaps shortstop Gabriel Arias initiated the scoring with a two-run single in the top of the first inning. Not only did he give his team a quick 2-0 lead, he also extended his on-base streak to a career-best 17 games.
Lake County scored once in the first and twice in the second to lead, 3-2, after two. In the top of the third inning, Fort Wayne catcher Jalen Washington, a Northeast Ohio native, delivered a two-out, two-run double.
Though the Captains retaliated again with a pair of runs in their half of the third to regain the lead, 5-4, the TinCaps rallied for three in the fourth, including two on Miller’s homer.
Third baseman Kelvin Melean also added insurance in the seventh with a solo homer.
The ‘Caps set a season-high by drawing 12 walks at the plate. Meanwhile, Fort Wayne pitchers didn’t walk or hit a batter all night.
All nine TinCaps batters reached base, with the top eight hitters in the lineup each recording at least one hit. Basabe, Arias, and center fielder Jeisson Rosario all had two hits. Left fielder Jack Suwinski stretched his hitting streak to eight games, and also walked a career-high four times.
On the mound, though starter MacKenzie Gore didn’t have his best stuff for his three innings of work, reliever Caleb Boushley kept the Captains off the board during the middle three innings. Lefty Fred Schlichtholz pitched two scoreless frames to hand the game off to Evan Miller for the ninth.
Click here for the Midwest League standings. The TinCaps currently lead Dayton and South Bend by a half game for a playoff spot.