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TinCaps Game Notes: July 10 at West Michigan (Game 88)

Fort Wayne TinCaps (7-10, 43-44) @ West Michigan Whitecaps (7-8, 46-36)

RHP Austin Smith (2-5, 4.88) vs. RHP Sandy Baez (4-7, 3.71)

Sunday, July 10 — Fifth Third Ballpark — First Pitch 1:00 p.m. — Game 88

LAST NIGHT: The Whitecaps scored two runs in the bottom of the third inning and rolled to a 2-0 win to even the 4-game series at a game apiece. Starter Jerry Keel tossed 5 innings of 2-run ball, and Elvin Liriano followed with 3 shutout and hitless frames.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Today’s starting pitcher, Austin Smith, turned 20 yesterday. Smith is the second-youngest TinCaps pitcher (lefty Logan Allen is 19) and one of three 20-year olds in the starting rotation.

PUTTING UP ZEROES: The TinCaps have now played in 16 shutouts this season (6-10), the most of any team in the Midwest League’s Eastern Division. Fort Wayne has also played in 31 games decided by one run (14-17), the most in the division.

RUDDY’S RESURGENCE: Shortstop Ruddy Giron is riding a season-long 6-game hitting streak after a 1-for-4 effort Saturday. With his two-run single Friday night, Giron posted his third multi-RBI game of the season — his first since April 16.

BELEN BASHES: 3B Carlos Belen has been hot in the second half, hitting .333 with 8 doubles, 2 triples, a homer, and 11 RBIs. (This is after he hit .194 in the first half.) Of Belen’s 54 hits this year, 28 have gone for extra bases. He’s moved up to the No. 3 spot in the order over the last week.

EVOLVING OUTFIELD: With Michael Gettys’ mid-season promotion to Advanced-A Lake Elsinore and Rod Boykin’s stint on the disabled list, the TinCaps outfield has changed shape. Kodie Tidwell had never played the outfield before May 26 and has since settled into a standard spot in left field. Tyler Moore played left field and right field in college (South Carolina Aiken) and was drafted as a second baseman, but he’s become the typical center fielder. Through 17 second-half games, the TinCaps have only trotted out the same outfield once in consecutive games (June 29-30 against Dayton).

FUTURES GAME: As part of Major League Baseball’s upcoming All-Star Game on Tuesday in San Diego, Petco Park will host the Futures Game today at 4 p.m. Former TinCap and current Triple-A OF Hunter Renfroe will represent the United States squad in a showcase for baseball’s best prospects. Renfroe, who has an MiLB-best 21 home runs, made his professional debut with the TinCaps in 2013 after being drafted in the first round out of Mississippi State.

ALUMNI REPORT: With Renfroe on the Temporary Inactive List, OF Nick Torres (2015 TinCap) has joined Triple-A El Paso. Torres went 2-for-4 with a 3-run home run Saturday in a win over Salt Lake.