Captains losing streak reaches seven with 7-2 loss
EASTLAKE - The Lake County Captains lost their seventh consecutive ballgame with a 7-2 loss to the Bowling Green Hot Rods on Monday night in front of 1,212 fans at Classic Park.
West Michigan scored two runs off of Captains starter Felix Sterling in the first inning. Shortstop Eugenio Suarez coaxed a one out walk and then designated hitter Dean Green hit a two run home run to deep center field, his third of the season.
The Captains tied the ballgame in the bottom of the fourth inning. Catcher Alex Monsalve led off the inning with his second solo homerun of the season off of Whitecaps starter Josue Carreno. Right fielder Jordan Smith laced a one out triple into the right field corner and then second baseman Robel Garcia grounded out to second to score Smith putting the score at 2-2 after four innings.
After a shaky start, Sterling retired the last fifteen batters that he faced and went six strong innings, allowing two runs on two hits. He walked three and struck out four.
Manager David Wallace praised Sterling’s performance.
“He was impressive," Wallace said. "He searched for his release point early on. The biggest thing was fixing mistakes. He was able to make the necessary adjustments.”
Whitecaps reliever Luis Angel Sanz came in to replace Carreno in the seventh inning. Carreno matched Sterling with six innings, giving up two runs on four hits. He struck out five batters and walked one.
Right-handed reliever Francisco Valera replaced Sterling in the seventh inning.
West Michigan added a run in the eighth inning. Centerfielder Chad Wright led off with a walk, but was caught stealing by Monsalve. Suarez doubled into the right-center field gap and would advance to third on a wild pitch. Green was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners with one out. First baseman Aaron Westlake hit into a potential 3-6-3 double play but first baseman Jerrud Sabourin was not able to hold on to the ball on the stretch, and Suarez scored from third to make the lead 3-2.
Valera (0-1, 2.25 ERA) allowed one run in his two innings of work. He walked two and struck out two. He also hit one batter and threw two wild pitches.
Lake County attempted to rally in the eighth. Shortstop Francisco Lindor laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line. He would steal second and Monsalve walked. Reliever Paul Bennett replaced Sanz with two outs and promptly struck out Lavisky swinging. Sanz (1-0, 0.00 ERA) went 1.2 innings, allowing two hits, one walk and he struck out two.
Reliever Cole Cook entered the game in the ninth inning and the Captains had another disastrous ninth inning. Right fielder Steven Moya led off with a single, left fielder Danry Vasquez sacrificed him to second with a bunt, and catcher Pat Leyland, son of Tigers manager Jim Leyland, walked. Third baseman Colin Kaline, grandson of Hall of Famer Al Kaline, walked to load the bases. Then Wright had the big blow of the game as he cleared the bases with a grand slam to right field, his first homerun of the year.
When asked about the ninth inning, Wallace said, “We trust the work being put in, and in time, the trust will begin to pay off.”
Cook allowed four runs (all earned) in his one inning of work on two hits, one walk and with one strikeout.
The Captains were retired in order in the ninth inning.
“We will never be okay with losing and we don’t want to get used to it," Wallace said about the present seven game losing streak. "It is a long season with 129 games to go. We will look back in July at our improvements we made.”
Monsalve was the only Captain to reach base multiple times, going 1-2 with a homerun and two walks.
The Captains will play the middle game of a three game set Tuesday night at Classic Park. First pitch is set for 6:30 PM. The Captains will send LHP Elvis Araujo (0-2, 4.00) to go against RHP Tommy Collier (0-1, 2.70) for the Whitecaps.
Tyler, a sports management student at Lake Erie College, can be found on Twitter @tstotsky63.