Espinoza sharp making first appearance in five years, but TinCaps lose first game of season to Whitecaps

TinCaps

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The highest-rated San Diego Padres prospect on the 2021 TinCaps roster threw in his first game in over 1,700 days, and didn’t disappoint. Anderson Espinoza showcased his blistering fastball and plus command through two scoreless innings, but Fort Wayne fell to the West Michigan Whitecaps, 6-3.

Across his two scheduled innings of work, Espinoza allowed just one hit and walked none while striking out three. The 23-year-old Venezuelan reached 97 miles-per-hour with his fastball in his first Minor League appearance since August 31, 2016 after multiple Tommy John surgeries.

Offensively, two TinCaps catchers stole the show. Thursday’s starting catcher, Adam Kerner, logged his first Minor League hit with a triple, while Jonny Homza (the starting catcher in the two preceding games who played third base in this game) smashed a triple of his own.

The run production for the TinCaps started right away, as Homza’s triple was followed by a sacrifice fly from right fielder Agustin Ruiz in the bottom of the first. The ‘Caps offense sat dormant from then until the bottom of the seventh, when designated hitter Ethan Skender plated Kerner with an RBI double, scoring shortly thereafter on a wild pitch by Whitecaps reliever Jared Tobey.

On the mound, Gabe Mosser followed Espinoza and provided 3 2/3 innings of one-run ball. Sam Keating made his season debut, Cody Tyler fired an effective one-two-three inning, and right-hander Wen-Hua Sung made history, becoming the first Taiwanese player in TinCaps history.

Whitecaps starter Chance Kirby rebounded effectively from the first inning TinCaps run, firing four no-hit innings after that. In all, Kirby struck out five and allowed just the one hit from Homza in five innings. After producing just two runs total the last two games, West Michigan’s offense plated a game-tying run in the fourth and erupted for five in the seventh.

Next Game: Friday, May 7 vs. West Michigan (7:05 p.m.)

TinCaps Probable Starter: RHP Edgar Martinez

Whitecaps Probable Starter: RHP Beau Brieske

Watch: Comcast Network 81 & MiLB.TV

Listen: 1380 The Fan & 100.9 FM

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