Two home teams and two road teams won on the first night of the Midwest League playoffs, with late runs making the difference in three of the four games.
The Fort Wayne TinCaps beat the Bowling Green Hot Rods 2-1 on the road, behind a great start by pitcher Michel Baez. The Cuban right-hander struck out nine while scattering five hits and a walk in seven scoreless innings. A.J. Kennedy gave the TinCaps all the offense they needed, slugging a two-run homer in the top of the 2nd inning.
The West Michigan Whitecaps also won on the road, beating the Dayton Dragons 3-2. The Whitecaps trailed 2-1 heading into the 9th inning and were down to their last out when Danny Pinero hit a two-run double to take the lead and eventually win the game. Bruce Yari hit a two-run homer for the Dragons.
The Peoria Chiefs also scored in the 9th inning to win, getting an RBI single from Evan Mendoza in the bottom half for a 4-3 victory over the Quad Cities River Bandits at home. Mendoza had three hits in the game.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels beat the Kane County Cougars 6-5 at home, thanks to an RBI single by Jimmy Kerrigan in the bottom of the 8th inning. It was Kerrigan’s second RBI of the game. Lewin Diaz also came up big for the Kernels, hitting three doubles and driving in four runs. Ramon Hernandez and Manny Jefferson each drove in two runs for the Cougars.
All four series switch venues for Thursday’s games. The first-round series — and the second-round series, for that matter — are best-of-three. The Midwest League Championship Series is best-of-five and begins Wednesday, Sept. 13, at the home of the Eastern Division team.