COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. – Tigers’ 2015 first-round draft choice Beau Burrows allowed one earned run through five innings and righty flamethrower Gerson Moreno struck out the side in the ninth as West Michigan’s pitching overcame the Loons’ efforts in a 5-3 decision at Fifth Third Ballpark before a crowd of 8,010 on Thursday night.
Burrows (W, 5-3) entered the night with a 2.01 ERA, the ninth-lowest in the Midwest League. Moreno (S, 10) moves into second place in the league with double-digit saves and struck out the Loons side in the ninth as he exhibited a fastball clocked at 100-mph on the Fifth Third Ballpark radar.
With the win, West Michigan (34-23) moves to 5-1 against the Loons (24-34) this season, but remains a half-game out of the wild card chase in the Midwest League Eastern Division.
The game oscillated over the course of the first three innings. West Michigan began the scoring in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly by Midwest League All-Star Will Maddox.
When Ariel Sandoval reached on an error to the start the second inning, the Loons made the ‘Caps pay when Jimy Perez singled into center to tie the game at 1-1. It was Perez’ first RBI of the season as a Loon.
Two outs into the second, West Michigan rallied to take the lead off right-handed starter, Dennis Santana (L, 0-8), the lone All-Star in Loons uniform. Switch-hitter Jose Zambrano doubled on the ground down the right-field line and snapped the 1-1 tie.
Again the Loons rallied, taking advantage of Burrows’ inability to command the strike zone in the third. Burrows (W, 5-3), walked the bases loaded and a sacrifice fly by Sandoval tied the game for the second time at 2-2.
West Michigan scored for the third consecutive inning and took the lead for good on two-out RBI single by righty Shane Zeile.
Santana finished with a quality outing and retired 10 of his last 11 batters, but West Michigan added two insurance runs in the seventh against lefty reliever Garrett Harrison.
Harrison retired his first two batters, but surrendered three straight singles to the top of the Whitecaps’ order and the lead inflated to 5-2.
The Loons attempted a comeback in the top of the eighth and ignited a two-out rally when righty catcher Jake Henson singled for the second time in the ballgame and scored Perez to make the score 5-3.
Great Lakes season-long 11-game road trip continues Friday night with game one of a three-game series against the Lake County Captains. First pitch is at 7 p.m. with coverage at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN 100.9-FM.