Greg Harris made a costly error opening the flood gates to three unearned runs in the seventh inning Tuesday night in a 5-2 loss for the Great Lakes Loons to the South Bend Silver Hawks.
With the game tied 2-2, Jamie Westbrook grounded back to the mound to lead off the bottom of the seventh. The only thing keeping the Loons from the first out of the inning was a toss to first by Harris. But the Loons' "piggy-back" reliever fired high towards first, allowing Westbrook to advance all the way to third. This led to three run-producing hits – singles by Marty Herum and Andrew Velazquez and a triple by Breland Almadova.
The first four runs of the game all came in on home runs.
Daniel Palka homered in his first two at-bats in the first and fourth innings, both off Loons starter Victor Arano. The Georgia Tech product now has five home runs against the Loons in 27 at bats, and more incredibly has homered in all four at bats against Arano.
In the top of the fourth, the Loons scored their only two runs of the game on a two-run home run by Joey Curletta.
The Palka homers accounted for the only two runs allowed by Arano in five innings for a no-decision. Harris (5-5) took the loss but was not charged with any earned runs in his two innings. Michael Johnson worked a 1-2-3 eighth.
John Shuttlesworth (1-1) worked two scoreless innings for the win. Silvino Bracho was flawless in the ninth for his 12th save.
The Loons (3-2, 37-38) and Silver Hawks (2-3, 42-32) continue their three-game series Wednesday night at 7:05pm. Right-handed pitcher Jonathan Martinez (5-5, 3.46 ERA), the reigning Midwest League Pitcher of the Week, is scheduled to start for the Loons. His mound opponent will be righty Sean Furney (2-3, 4.64). The game will be broadcast live on ESPN 100.9-FM.