Cuban pitcher Michel Baez made his Midwest League debut for the Fort Wayne TinCaps on Tuesday, and he didn’t disappoint on a day that traditionally sees very large crowds at Parkview Field.
There was not disappointment in the latter respect, either, as a record 9,266 fans attended the game, which saw the TinCaps emerge victorious over the Lake County Captains by the score of 4-0. The previous single-game attendance record at Parkview Field was 9,193 on July 4, 2015; five of the six biggest crowds in the nine-year-old ballpark’s history have been on Independence Day.
Baez, a 21-year-old fireballer who signed with the San Diego Padres for $3 million last December, was dominant in his five-inning start, striking out nine batters while allowing only two hits and no walks. His fastball reportedly reached a high of 98 mph.
It was only his second minor-league appearance, having made a start in the rookie-level Arizona League a week earlier. The Havana native struck out seven and allowed two runs on two hits and two walks in that start.
Three TinCaps players had two hits, including second baseman Reinaldo Ilarraza, who has reached base safely in his last eight games. He is 12-for-29 (.414) with a home run, two doubles, five runs batted in, and two stolen bases during that stretch.
Fernando Tatis Jr., who was named the Midwest League offensive player of the week on Monday, hit a triple.
The TinCaps have won their last seven games at home, including a four-game sweep of the South Bend Cubs last week.