Comstock Park, Michigan (Indiana's NewsCenter) – A five-run fourth inning helped the West Michigan Whitecaps to a series-opening 8-4 victory over the Fort Wayne TinCaps on Wednesday night. Fort Wayne starter Frank Garces worked four innings-- his shortest outing of the season--and allowed six runs, three earned, as he took the loss. Newcomer Kyung-Min Na notched two RBI in his Fort Wayne debut.
West Michigan (13-13) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning against Garces (1-2). The TinCaps scored a run of their own in the top of the third to tie the game. Casey McElroy launched a triple to the warning track in right-center field, scoring Jace Peterson.
The fourth inning for Garces would be his last, and it was also where the game turned in favor of West Michigan. Garces allowed a leadoff double to Jason King, which was followed by a fielding error on third baseman Duanel Jones, allowing Aaron Westlake to reach. Brandon Loy singled to center, loading the bases with nobody out. The score tied at one, Danry Vasquez doubled home King and Westlake to push the Whitecaps’ advantage to 3-1. West Michigan poured three more runs across before the inning, and Garces’ night, came to a close. West Michigan led 6-1 at the end of four innings.
Fort Wayne (10-16) relief allowed one run each in the fifth and sixth innings, as Michael Kelly, Colin Rea and Daniel Cropper followed Garces. Kelly tossed one and one third innings, allowing two runs, walking four and striking out one.
The TinCaps pushed three runs across in the seventh inning, chasing West Michigan starter Wilsen Palacios. Na plated two with a single and Jace Peterson grounded into a double play, which scored the fourth and final run for Fort Wayne. Palacios (1-2) worked six innings, allowing four earned runs and walking one batter. Melvin Mercedes earned his first win of the year as he threw three innings of scoreless, one-hit relief.
Game two of the series is Thursday night at Fifth Third Ballpark. Scheduled starters are Adys Portillo for Fort Wayne and Josue Carreno for West Michigan. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 PM.
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