Comstock Park, Mich. – It was another quiet day for both offenses, but the West Michigan Whitecaps (Class-A/Detroit Tigers) scored four runs late to overcome a deficit and defeat the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Tampa Bay Rays) on Sunday afternoon, 4-1.
Chris Kirsch turned another fine performance by a Hot Rods starter, as he tossed six scoreless innings. Kirsch limited the Whitecaps to just two hits, and struck out two while lowering his season earned run average to 3.32. He’s been spectacular since the close out April, as Kirsch owns a 2.11 earned run average in May and June combined.
Bowling Green gave Kirsch a lead in the top of the sixth as they struck first. Johnny Field collected his second hit of the day via an infield single, and he quickly moved to second base on a throwing error by West Michigan reliever, Will LaMarche. One out later, Ty Young sent a single to right-center field to plate Field and give the Hot Rods a 1-0 lead, their first lead of the series.
The lead was overcome by West Michigan in the seventh when they scored a pair of runs to take the lead themselves. Wynton Bernard doubled into the left-center field gap to start the frame, and out later he was advanced home to tie the game on hit by Willie Adames. Adames would move to third base when Pat Leyland singled, and he scored on Jose Zambrano’s fielder’s choice groundout. The inning gave the Whitecaps a 2-1 advantage.
Two more runs crossed in the bottom of the eighth to cement the lead. Dominic Ficociello led off with a double, and would later score on a wild pitch. Jeff Holm reached on a free pass and scored when Adames hit a sacrifice fly to left field. Adames has now driven in four of West Michigan’s eight runs this series. The inning gave the game its final margin of 4-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.
Matt Davenport (4-2) worked a perfect seventh inning out of West Michigan’s bullpen to earn his fourth victory. Zac Reininger converted his fifth save.
Brad Schreiber (1-5) replaced Kirsch in the seventh and picked up the loss.
The Hot Rods and Whitecaps will play the finale of their four-game series on Monday morning. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT, and fans can follow the action on 1340 WBGN – The Ticket beginning at 10:45 a.m. CT with the Pepsi Pre-Game Show. The Hot Rods return home on July 4, highlighted by a double-fireworks show following the game. For tickets and more information, fans can visit BGHotRods.com or call 270-901-2121.