Second baseman Estury Ruiz was 2-4 on Saturday night. (Photo: Jeff Nycz)

FORT WAYNE, IND — The TinCaps got another strong performance from right-handed pitcher Luis Patino, but the bullpen could not hold the 2-0 lead as they gave up six runs, four of them earned along with three errors.

“They got hit and gave up runs,” said manager Anthony Contreras on the reliever’s performance on Saturday night. “If you miss with command and leave balls over the plate a good team like Lansing will take advantage of it.  They are in first place for a reason.”

The bright spot of the night was Patino, who for the third consecutive game did not give up an earned run.  With the exception of a hiccup in his second outing against West Michigan on the road where he allowed seven earned runs, the 18-year old Columbian has allowed the opposition to score only once since joining the TinCaps last month.

“I liked that I didn’t give up any hits, but I need to throw more strikes which is something that I can work on,” Patino said.  “It’s not good when you’re team doesn’t win but we are all trying to get better.”

His fastball was sitting consistently in the mid-90s throughout the evening and also flashed a solid change-up and slider.  What is fascinating about the velocity that Patino generates is that he is only six feet, and around 190 pounds. 

“I work with weighted balls to strengthen my arm as part of my routine which always helps,” said Patino.  “My slider is my second best pitch, but I think my change-up has gotten better this year.  When I have all three pitches working, I am a better pitcher.”

“What is interesting is that I’ve seen him pitch better, but he competes,” said Contreras.  “Occasionally he can get rushed, but when he stays on his backside he is a very impressive 18-year old pitcher.”

Offensively second baseman Esteury Ruiz went 2-for-4 with a double, stolen base and RBI. Ruiz had been in a 5-for-29 slump in June.

“He was going through a bit of a tough spell right now, but he’s a focused worker,” said Contreras.  “He’s up in the cages and today was a good confidence booster for him.”

TinCaps Notes:  Tomorrow top prospect MacKenzie Gore will make his first start for Fort Wayne since May 14.  Gore has been bothered by blisters which have limited him to eight innings this season after a strong spring.  

Posted by John Conniff

John grew up in Poway and has written for MadFriars since 2004. He has written articles for Baseball America, FoxSports San Diego, the El Paso Times, San Antonio Express-News, Amarillo Globe-News, Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette and Pacific Daily News in addition to appearing on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He can also break down the best places to eat for all five of the affiliates. There is no best place to eat in Peoria, Arizona.

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