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Wenceel Perez walks it off in Whitecaps’ home opener

Scores, news, and notes, from around the Detroit Tigers’ farm system for Tuesday, April 12, 2022.

Iowa Cubs 8, Toledo Mud Hens 5 (box)

Things didn’t go well in the first game of the series in Iowa. A seven-run fourth innings sunk the Mud Hens’ chances in this one. Michael Pineda had cruised for three innings, and the Hens took the first lead of the day in the top of the fourth when Zack Short led off with a double and scored on a Kody Clemens single. However, in the bottom half, three straight one-out singles led to a Donnie Dewees grand slam that ended Pineda’s night at 55 pitches.

Alex Powers took over from Pineda and allowed three more runs in the inning. Wily Peralta spun a clean fifth inning and is apparently tuning for a relief role, as he only tossed one frame. Luis Castillo allowed one more run in the sixth.

Short had two doubles in the contest, while Willi Castro added two singles. With Robbie Grossman potentially headed to the IL with a groin strain, Castro would seem likely to get called up, at least until Derek Hill is ready in another week or two. Jacob Robson helped made the score a little more respectable with a ninth inning two-run homer, his second of the year. Ryan Kreidler (#8 BYB) walked and stole a base, striking out once. Josh Lester chipped in with a double in the losing effort.

Game two will get underway at 7:38 p.m. ET on Wednesday night.

Somerset Patriots 2, Erie SeaWolves 1 (box)

Veteran minor league starter Markus Solbach and the Patriots Jhony Brito locked up in a pitching duel on Tuesday night, but ultimately the Patriots walked this one off. Solbach struck out nine, allowing one earned run on three hits and a walk in 4 13 innings. RHP Chance Kirby got the SeaWolves through seven without another run crossing, but the offense just couldn’t get anything going and closer Yaya Chentouf gave up the game winner in the ninth after pitching a clean eighth inning.

Dane Myers had a pair of doubles, scoring on an Eric De La Rosa single in the fifth for their only run on the night. Gage Workman (#12 BYB) and Dillon Dingler (#3 BYB) went hitless, while third baseman Andre Lipcius (#28 BYB) and right fielder Daniel Cabrera (#19 BYB) each singled and struck out once.

The real highlight of the night was this backpick to third base from Dingler that snuffed a bases loaded, two-out jam in the fifth. We won’t name the baserunner, but no doubt he heard plenty about this from the Patriots coaching staff.

LHP Adam Wolf will make his first start of the year on Wednesday night at 6:35 p.m. ET as the series continues at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, New Jersey.

West Michigan Whitecaps 11, Lansing Lugnuts 10 (F/11)(box)

The Whitecaps walked off in their home opener after a crazy 11th inning that saw nine runs scored under extra innings rules. Wenceel Perez was the hero, coming through with an opposite field double to the wall to end it.

Parker Meadows got things started for them, leading off the bottom of the first with a double, and eventually scoring on a Jake Holton groundout. The Lugnuts came back to score three against Keider Montero and Andrew Magno in the top of the second—Montero was pulled with an injury after getting hit by a comebacker—but the ‘Caps came right back with four more in the bottom of the inning. Trei Cruz (#21 BYB) came through with a two-run single to score Andrew Navigato and Bryant Packard, and then Parker Meadows (#23 BYB) hammered his third home run in four games to make it 5-3 Whitecaps.

Magno allowed a run in the top of the third, but from there the Whitecaps bullpen locked things down until the ninth inning, with neither team scoring in the interim. Relief prospect Dario Gardea threw a pair of scoreless frames with three strikeouts to pace the bullpen effort. Gabriel Sequeira was also solid in collecting five outs.

Unfortunately, Michael Bienlien allowed a run in the top of the ninth to blow the save and send this to extras. Angel Reyes didn’t allow a hit in the top of the 10th, but the Lugnuts took advantage of a Colt Keith (#11 BYB) error to push the Manfred Man home from second. The ‘Caps returned the favor, using a Meadows ground out and a Wenceel Perez sacrifice fly to re-tie the game, setting the stage for a chaotic 11th inning.

RJ Petit got the first out in the top of the inning, but then issued a walk and surrendered a single to allow the Lugnuts’ go-ahead run. After a strikeouts, Petit allowed a single and a double back-to-back to make it 10-6. However, with their backs against the wall, the Whitecaps had enough for a comeback.

Jake Holton started things off with a walk, putting two on as Colt Keith started the inning on second. Navigato doubled, and Packard and catcher Mike Rothenberg singled back-to-back to get within one. Trei Cruz struck out, but a wild pitch got Packard to third. The Lugnuts’ issued a free pass to Meadows to load the bases, and Wenceel Perez came up clutch, striping a two-run double to left for the game winner.

Perez was obviously the hero here, but we will note that Meadows had a walk, a double, and his third home runs, beginning the season red hot. That’s nice to see, as are some adjustments to Meadows’ setup and load. Hopefully he’s finally ready to step up to Double-A by the summer months. Progress here is a sight for sore eyes.

Game two is set for 12:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday. RHP Joey Estes starts for Lansing, while West Michigan has yet to announce.

Tigers Minor League Report was on the scene for a little post-game interview with the voice of the Whitecaps, Dan Hasty, to recap a wild home opener.

Bradenton Marauders 4, Lakeland Flying Tigers 3 (box)

Garrett Burhenn, the Tigers ninth round pick in the 2021 draft, made his debut in this one, and was pretty good. He tossed four innings of one run ball, with five strikeouts to six hits and a walk allowed.

The Flygers took an early lead in this one on a Chris Meyers solo shot in the second. Cristian Santana (#7 BYB) followed suit in the third with his first home run of the year, and the Flying Tigers were up 2-0.

After Burhenn allowed a run in the fourth, reliever Aaron Haase allowed two runs in the bottom of the fifth as Bradenton took a 3-2 lead. The scoring then dried up until the eighth, when Meyers followed up his earlier home run with a one-out triple and scored on a Josh Crouch ground out. Unfortunately, reliever Carlos Marcano allowed a run in the bottom of the ninth as the Marauders walked it off.

Cristian Santana had a walk and three punchouts to go with his home run. Roberto Campos (#14 BYB), Meyers, and Crouch each chipped in with two hit games.

The two clubs meet up again at 6:30 p.m. EDT from LECOM Park in Bradenton. No starters are announced.