FORT WAYNE – The TinCaps scored early and held on late to defeat the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers), 6-4, on Wednesday night at Parkview Field to begin the seven-game homestand.
Carlos Belen opened the scoring when he launched a 425-foot home run — his seventh big fly of the season — during the second inning. Later in the frame, Tyler Selesky added an RBI double that scored Alan Garcia.
Fort Wayne (11-21 second half, 47-55 overall) grabbed a 3-0 advantage in the bottom of the third. Belen singled home Ruddy Giron, who had smacked a leadoff double.
TinCaps starter Austin Smith (W, 3-5) silenced West Michigan (14-15, 53-42) until the sixth inning. Derek Hill scored on Rashad Brown’s RBI double, but Smith picked off Brown before Will Allen homered to right-center field.
Smith struck out five batters and did not allow an earned run over 5.2 innings.
Fort Wayne responded in the home half of the sixth with an RBI single from Tyler Moore to plate Garcia and push the TinCaps ahead 4-2.
The teams then traded runs in both the seventh and eighth.
Jose Zambrano’s RBI single cut into Fort Wayne’s lead, but Belen’s sacrifice fly made it 5-3. Whitecaps center fielder Jose Azocar answered with a sac fly of his own before Moore drove in Jose Carlos Ureña — also on a sac fly — for a 6-4 edge.
The TinCaps wrapped up the victory with a scoreless ninth inning from Jose Castillo (S, 1), who recorded four strikeouts over two frames.
West Michigan starter Spenser Watkins (L, 3-1) took the loss after ceding four runs in 5.2 innings.
The three-game series continues Thursday night at Parkview Field, a 7:05 p.m. first pitch.