LANSING, Mich. – TinCaps third baseman Graham Pauley (No. 29 Padres prospect) clobbered a grand slam to highlight a seven-run sixth inning, as Fort Wayne notched a comeback win over the Lansing Lugnuts (Oakland A’s affiliate), 9-5, on Wednesday afternoon at Jackson Field.

It was one of Pauley’s two hits in the game and marks his 13th homer since joining the team in late June. He joined Matt Olson of the Atlanta Braves and Michael Busch of the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers as the only three players in either Major or Minor League Baseball who’ve homered 13 times since June 29. He also ranks second out of MLB/MiLB-ers in RBIs with 38 in this range. 

Fort Wayne (22-16, 54-50) continues to lead the Midwest League East Division second-half standings.

Center fielder Jakob Marsee (No. 20 Padres prospect), following his solo homer and three-hit game Tuesday, ripped an RBI single, plus a double and finished 2-for-5. His single in the third put Fort Wayne up, 1-0.

Second baseman Nerwilian Cedeño also tallied a pair of hits, including an RBI double in the top of the third, which gave the ‘Caps a 2-0 lead at the time.

But Lansing (14-24, 45-58) scored five runs over the next three innings. Designated hitter Danny Bautista Jr. singled home catcher Carlos Amaya in the home third, making it 2-1.

The Lugnuts plated three in the fourth and tied the contest on Amaya’s RBI two-bagger. Then they grabbed the lead on third baseman T.J. Schofield-Sam’s run-scoring double. Moments later, center fielder Junior Perez legged out a run-producing triple. In the fifth, first baseman Brennan Milone smacked a solo homer to extend the Lansing lead to three, 5-2.

Fort Wayne quickly erased that deficit in the top of the sixth. Catcher Ethan Salas (No. 2 Padres prospect), 17, who was promoted from Single-A Lake Elsinore yesterday, officially became the youngest player to ever appear in a game for Fort Wayne. Read more about Salas here. Salas got his first hit in his third at-bat, which started a stretch of seven straight TinCaps that reached base. After singles by Cedeño and designated hitter Nathan Martorella (No. 21 Padres prospect), Pauley launched a grand slam – the team’s sixth granny of the year. 

The ‘Caps weren’t done. Right fielder Lucas Dunn doubled prior to a walk by first baseman Carlos Luis, and then shortstop Kervín Pichardo extended his 11-game hitting streak with a three-run tank to left center.

Along with Salas, relief pitcher Michel Baez made his first appearance with the team this season out of the bullpen. He retired four hitters and struck out one across part of the fourth inning and all of the fifth. On Tuesday, Baez was moved from the rookie-level Arizona Complex League Padres to Fort Wayne on a rehab assignment. Baez, who has appeared in 29 career games for the Padres, led the TinCaps to the 2017 Midwest League Championship Series.

Reliever Tyler Morgan worked a scoreless sixth out of the pen. Meanwhile, Will Geerdes sat down eight in a row and nine out of 10 in the midst of three perfect innings, earning a save.

Next Game: Thursday, Aug. 10 @ Lansing (7:05 p.m.)

  • TinCaps Probable Starter: RHP Victor Lizarraga (No. 7 Padres prospect)
  • Lugnuts Probable Starter: RHP Jose Dicochea