The TinCaps got on board in the opening frame using small ball after seeing two of their top power hitters, Sawyer Carroll and Matt Clark, move up to Lake Elsinore.
Blake Tekotte opened with a walk and moved to third on a hit-and-run executed by Drew Cumberland. Cumberland then stole second. Dan Robertson notched a sacrifice fly and Justin Baum delivered a double to put give the TinCaps a two-spot.
“That is what we are going to have to do,” Tekotte said of the small ball approach. “We will get a couple of homers here and there but that is what we have to do since we lost a couple of big bats. It gets the same amount of runs as one home run. It set the tone.”
“We lost a couple of power guys so we had to step up,” Cumberland said. “Blake takes off running and I hit one through the hole. He gets to third and I steal a bag and we get two runs just like that.
“We have to change our game strategy, which we did today. We really put it together those first few innings.”
Three more runs crossed in the following frame – all coming off the bat of Tekotte who took a 0-1 pitch and cracked a three-run homer to left-center.
Starter Simon Castro gave three back over the next two innings. Three singles and ground out scored two in the third and a double, single, and ground out scored a third run in the fourth.
“I got in some trouble in some of the innings,” Castro said. “I was trying to do my best.”
The TinCaps tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the fourth – with all of their hits coming with two outs. Kevin Hansen doubled to begin the rally. Blake Tekotte notched his fourth RBI and Drew Cumberland took the first pitch he saw and hammered it over the right field wall – about 20 feet inside the 318-foot sign – for his first bomb of the year, extending the TinCaps lead to 8-3.
A pair of two-out doubles made the score 8-4, as Castro exited the game after five innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out six while improving to 5-4.
“Those were on fastballs,” Castro said of the doubles. “They were good fastball hitters and I think those two guys read my fastball and that is how they hit the fastball hard.”
Michael Watt, Nick Schumacher and Brad Brach contributed four scoreless innings.
“Castro gets through five and the bullpen throws up all those zeroes,” manager Doug Dascenzo said. “The guys played well.”
A 14-minute rain delay going into the top of the ninth held the up final three outs.
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