Lake County Captans take two from Fort Wayne TinCaps
EASTLAKE, OH - Following a Wednesday wash-out, the Captains swept a twin-billing against the Fort Wayne TinCaps at Classic Park on Thursday night and while 14 innings took place on the night, the first five drew more attention than the rest thanks to a rehabbing Indians starter.
Zach McAllister, who was assigned to the 15-day DL on May 22, toed the rubber for the Captains in the first game of the two-game set, as he embarks on his rehab assignment and makes his way back to the Tribe rotation.
In his first game action since a shelling by the Detroit Tigers the day before he was sent to the DL, McAllister pitched 4.1 innings of nine-hit, three-run baseball, while walking one and striking out four.
Evidenced by the nine hits for the TinCaps on the evening, McAllister was hit relatively hard for the majority of his outing, but the starter still felt it was a successful and exciting day.
"It was definitely nice to get back out there and be in a game again and face some hitters," McAllister said of his start. "I got a lot of ground balls and some of them for hits and all that, but again, I thought I did a pretty good job of being able to keep the ball down and stay down there."
With massive ice bags wrapped around his right arm, McAllister could not stress enough the importance of his ability to keep the ball down in the zone- something he could not do with an aching back in his last couple of starts with the Tribe.
"Having that stiffness a little bit doesn't allow you to get that ball down and get that extension out there. You tend to be a little more upright than you want to be in your delivery," McAllister explained. "I was really excited to have the ball driven down to the bottom of the zone."
Captains manager Mark Budzinski echoed the sentiments of his starter, as he too felt that McAllister did what he needed to do in the outing.
"He pounded the zone today, threw everything for strikes," Budzinski explained. "I think he felt pretty good overall and we felt pretty happy for him. Again, he was pretty good overall."
McAllister did not leave Classic Park with a W under his belt, but a bases-clearing double from outfielder Dorsyss Paulino and a two-RBI single from catcher Eric Haase helped the Captains to secure a 6-3 victory in game one.
In game two, the Captains and TinCaps would engage in a back-and-forth affair that would ultimately be decided in the bottom of the fifth, as Clint Frazier and his reddish locks crossed the plate after multiple wild pitches from Fort Wayne starter Erik Cabrera to lock up the doubleheader sweep by a final score of 6-4.
The TinCaps took an early 3-0 lead on Captains starter Mitch Brown, but the Lake County offense bailed out their starter by scoring in three straight innings to take a 5-4 lead in the fifth.
From there, lefty Matt Whitehouse shutout the TinCaps over the final three frames, while Dorssys Paulino added an RBI-triple to give Lake County an insurance run and guaranteed the Captains their 22nd win of the season.
Paulino, including the aforementioned double and triple, finished the day with four hits and four RBIs, just adding to an upward trend his play overall.
"It's obviously a good confidence builder for him," Budzinksi said about Paulino's big day. "He's been swinging the bat really well for the last week or so and attacking the fastball more, which is what we've asked of him. I think he's got things going in the right direction and I hope he can keep it going."
While his team had to play over four-and-a-half hours of baseball on Thursday night to earn their two latest wins, Budzinski believes that his team can handle a tough slate with relative ease.
"They're young, they can handle it; especially seven-inning games," Budzinski said. "This team grinds it out."
The Captains will return to action on Friday night at Classic Park, looking to sweep the TinCaps in the final game of this three-game series. First pitch is set for 7 pm.