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Elvin Rodriguez spins five perfect innings to lead Erie over Akron

Scores, news, and notes from around the Detroit Tigers’ farm system for Wednesday, May 12, 2021.

Indianapolis Indians 5, Toledo Mud Hens 3 (box)

A three-run third inning doomed Drew Hutchison’s start for the Hens on Wednesday. The offense mounted a push in the middle innings but ultimately Indy pulled away with the victory.

Just like Matt Manning the night before, Hutchison racked up plenty of strikeouts, but he was undone by a pair of home runs in the third inning. The Hens fought back in the fifth with Zach Short picking up an RBI double, while Victor Reyes added a sacrifice fly to score Derek Hill and make it a one run game. Unfortunately, a Hutchison balk and an Isaac Paredes error at second put Indy in scoring position in the bottom of the frame, and Hutchison wild pitched in a run to open the deficit back to two runs.

Beau Burrows collected four outs without a run in relief, allowing a double and a walk, while racking up three strikeouts. Isaac Paredes had a single and drew a walk. Christin Stewart led off the top of the ninth with a solo shot, his second of the season, but that was as far as they got in their comeback attempt.

Coming Up Next: The Hens look to turn around a 2-5 start as the two clubs meet up again at 7:05 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Erie SeaWolves 4, Akron Rubberducks 0 (box)

Elvin Rodriguez looked very good again on Wednesday, putting him on the list of nice early season surprises. Rodriguez fired five perfect innings in this one, striking out eight RubberDucks in style.

The 23-year-old right hander was acquired in the Justin Upton deal with the Angels four years ago, and has been around the edges of Tigers prospect lists for a while. The question has tended to revolve around projection, as Rodriguez has always thrown a high volume of strikes and shown the ability to spin the baseball. The fastball-curve combination just lacked oomph, for lack of a better term. On the one hand, he’s been durable and steadily built up to 133 13 innings pitched as a 21-year-old in 2019. On the other, the stuff has looked like it would probably play best out of the Tigers bullpen long-term. So far, it looks like he’s made some gains over the past 18 months.

The offense got him an early lead to work with as well. Riley Greene led off with a single and advanced to second on Ryan Kreidler’s fly out to center field. Jacob Robson walked, and Josh Lester came through with an RBI single to plate Greene. Kerry Carpenter followed with a double to score Robson, and the SeaWolves led 2-0. They added two more with a Greene single, and a two-run shot from Kreidler, his second of the year, in the fifth inning. Billy Lescher handed the sixth inning out of the bullpen, and Brad Bass had no trouble keeping Akron off the board over the final three innings.

Coming Up Next: First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. ET on Thursday.

West Michigan Whitecaps 9, Great Lakes Loons 8 (box)

The Whitecaps took advantage of nine walks to build a huge early lead, but the bullpen couldn’t hold it, necessitating some walkoff shenanigans to pull out an exciting one in West Michigan on Wednesday night.

After starter Garrett Hill punched out the side in the first, the offense got to work. Parker Meadows reached on an error by Loons second baseman Deacon Liput, a theme that would develop over the course of the inning, Spencer Torkelson walked, and Dillon Dinger singled home Meadows to open the scoring. Andre Lipcius flew out deep enough to advance both runners, and a throwing error by Liput on a Daniel Cabrera ground ball allowed both runs to score.

In the second, the Loons’ Ryley Widdell started the inning off by hitting two batters and issuing a pair of walks. With one run in, Lipcius and Dingler lifted sacrifice flies to make it 6-0 Caps after two.

Hill threw a strong 4 13 innings, allowing a solo shot and a walk, with five strikeouts. Brendan White allowed a run in the fifth inning, while Zack Hess took over for 1 23 innings and struck out four. Unfortunately, Angel Reyes allowed a pair of runs in the eighth to close the gap to 7-4. Ruben Garcia struggled even harder trying to close it out in the top of the ninth. He issued a walk, hit a batter, and then allowed two straight singles before getting lifted for Yaya Chentouf. Chentouf immediately hit a batter to force in the second run of the inning, but then settled down to collect the first two outs of the inning on strikeouts. The Whitecaps then went full Togers, with back to back errors by SS Corey Joyce and Lipcius at second base allowing two more runs to score as the Loons stunned the Whitecaps by taking the lead, 8-7.

But the Whitecaps would not go quietly into the good night. With one out, Lipcius singled, Daniel Cabrera doubled to score him, and two walks and a wild pitch by Loons reliever Andrew Shaps later, the Whitecaps were celebrating a win anyway.

Coming Up Next: The Loons will throw lefty Alec Gamboa at the Whitecaps on Thursday at 6:35 p.m. ET. The Whitecaps are in TBD mode as of this writing.

Lakeland Flying Tigers 15, Tampa Tarpons 4 (box)

The Flying Tigers unleashed a 13 hit attack on the Tarpons on Wednesday night, cruising to victory without a single home run. Leadoff man Kingston Liniak got things started in the bottom of the first by drawing a walk. Gage Workman tripled him in, Nick Quintana was hit by a pitch, and a wild pitch then allowed Workman to roar home as well. Catcher Cooper Johnson and second baseman Wenceel Perez singled, Jose de la Cruz drew a walk, and after a sacrifice fly from Dane Myers to make it 4-0, outfielder Eric de la Rosa lashed a two-run double to left to give Lakeland a 6-0 lead.

It was more of the same in the second as the Flying Tigers scored four more times, primed by a double from Workman to lead off the fram. Starter Carlos Guzman was better in his second short outing as he builds up his arm strength, and only reliever Matt Bailey struggled, allowing three runs in the sixth.

Eric de la Rosa and Gage Workman led the Flying Tigers offensive effort in this one, but it was just a hit parade up and down the lineup.

Coming Up Next: Lakeland got back to .500 with the win Wednesday night. They’ll send RHP Ted Stuka to the mound against lefty Ryan Anderson of the Tarpons on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. ET.