Fort Wayne, Ind. — With A.J. Preller and company in town to announce the extension of the Player Development Contract, the TinCaps dropped a 5-3 game to the West Michigan Whitecaps.
All eyes were focused on MacKenzie Gore as he took the mound for his third start back from the disabled list. Well, most eyes is probably more accurate; Robbie Podorsky’s family had made a 14 hour trek from Louisiana to see him play for the first time as a TinCap, and he didn’t disappoint, launching a bomb to left field in the bottom of the sixth to put Fort Wayne on the board.
“It was amazing,” Podorsky said. “I have an uncle battling cancer right now, a brain tumor, so to have him here when I did that…there’s no words that can be spoken. It is just one of those moments that jump off the page.
“I tried making an adjustment after my first at bat. I kind of had an idea of how they were pitching me and everything just clicked. I got the right pitch to hit and that doesn’t happen too often.”
Podorsky marked the home run, his first of the year, by looking up to his family and pointing in a poignant moment.
On the hill, Gore struggled through three innings, giving up six hits and four earned runs while striking out three.
“In his last two outings, he was a little sharper than he was tonight,” Fort Wayne Manager Anthony Contreras said. “The fastball command was okay. We’re kind of basing it off those last two outings because I’ve seen him dominate…His offspeed wasn’t as sharp as he has been in the past.
“He got in some deep counts that drove up his pitch count and forced us to take him out of the game early. But like I have said before, the biggest thing is that he came out healthy after throwing 65 pitches and that’s all we can ask for right now.
After Gore exited the game, Osvaldo Hernandez stepped in and struck out the first two hitters he faced, but stumbled in the subsequent inning and gave up a run. The 20-year-old Cuban responded by striking out the next four hitters he faced and completely shutting down the West Michigan offense.
In allowing just one earned run in his four innings, Hernandez now has ten straight appearances without allowing more than earned two runs in a game. “For him, [the key] actually is just staying calm,” Contreras shared. “He’s a competitive kid that can kind of get at it too fast, so he did a good job of controlling himself and was able to sit back and find his rhythm and get ahead of guys. His fastball was really live today, especially early in his outing.”
With one of tonight’s games rained out, the TinCaps will now play a doubleheader on Sunday.