Bowling Green, Ky. – The Bowling Green Hot Rods (Class-A/Tampa Bay Rays) were unable to hold a 5-0 lead as the Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres) used two big innings to overcome the deficit and win on Saturday night, 10-6. The game was tied entering the ninth, but Fort Wayne used their second four-run inning to seal the victory.
Things boded well for the Hot Rods early on, as Bowling Green plated three runs in the first. Kean Wong lined a single to left-center field with one out, and he would come around to score when Johnny Field followed with a double into the corner in left field. One out later, Oscar Hernandez launched his fifth home run of the season to extend the lead to 5-0. The homer bounced off the back of the Hot Rods bullpen in left field.
Two more runs came across for Bowling Green on one swing of the bat in the third. Field led off with his second double in as many at-bats, and Granden Goetzman hit a line-drive home run to the Home Run Grill in left field to stretch the Hot Rods advantage to 5-0.
Fort Wayne scored four in the fifth to cut the lead to just one run. Singles by Jake Bauers, Ryan Miller, and River Stevens loaded the bases with one out. Luis Tejada plated Bauers with a sharp single to center field. A fielder’s choice would advance Miller home, and a throwing error by starter Chris Kirsch allowed Mallex Smith to reach and Stevens to score. To cap the inning, a wild pitch allowed Josh VanMeter to come across and trim the Hot Rods lead to one run.
The TinCaps tied the game in the seventh on a lead-off home run by Tejada to left-center field. One out later, the TinCaps would grab the lead as Smith would double home Ronnie Richardson who had just singled. Smith’s run-scoring hit gave Fort Wayne its first lead, 6-5.
The newfound lead was short-lived, as Bowling Green squared the game back up in the bottom of the seventh. Juniel Querecuto led off with a bunt single, and would later score when Goetzman reached on a fielder’s choice.
Tied at six, the TinCaps broke through or another big inning with four in the ninth. A one-out double by Richardson started the rally, and he would later score on a wild pitch to give Fort Wayne the lead once again. After Mallex Smith was hit by a pitch, and Fernando Perez was intentionally walked, Franmil Reyes singled to left-center field to advance Smith home. Perez would score on Bauers’ single through the right side, and the inning was finished off with a sacrifice fly by Ryan Miller which plated Reyes. The spurt gave Fort Wayne the final advantage, 10-6.
Tayron Guerrero (6-0) worked two scoreless innings out of the Fort Wayne bullpen to earn the victory.
Kirsch worked into the seventh inning for a third consecutive start, but he received a no-decision. Just four of Kirsch’s six runs were earned. Brad Schreiber (1-3) allowed four runs on five hits over two and two-thirds innings to get the loss.
The Hot Rods will try to get back on the winning path on Sunday afternoon in game two of a three-game set with the TinCaps at Bowling Green Ballpark. Fans can bring their dog to the game, as Bark in the Park will be celebrated. It’s also a Family Sundae, which means half-price ice cream as well, and kids can run the bases after the game thanks to Smucker’s Uncrustables. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 p.m., and gates will open at 1 p.m.