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updated: 7/18/2013 12:07 AM

Cougars fall 6-2 to Loons

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Special to the Daily Herald

In the Kane County debut for Juan Carlos Paniagua, it was another familiar result for the Cougars as the Great Lakes Loons jumped in front early and never looked back in a 6-2 series-opening victory Wednesday night at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.

Paniagua (0-1), who had trouble getting back into the U.S. this season because of visa issues, worked around a couple of baserunners in the first before the Loons (43-53, 16-10) grabbed the lead in the second with 2 runs.

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Brandon Dixon singled to start the inning and scored on a bases-loaded walk to James Baldwin. Jeremy Rathjen was hit by a pitch and came across on a double-play grounder.

Great Lakes took advantage of an error in the third to take a 4-0 lead. Corey Seager drew a walk to lead off before stealing second and advancing to third on an Oliver Zapata error. Brandon Dixon's groundout to short scored Seager, and Aaron Miller came home on a Rathjen single.

Paniagua lasted 213 innings while walking four and coughing up 3 runs (2 earned). Justin Amlung also surrendered 3 runs in his 323 innings of relief as the Loons were up by 6.

Chris Anderson (1-0) limited the Cougars (35-55, 5-19) to just 2 singles in 5 shutout innings.

Willson Contreras finally put the Cougars on the board in the seventh with a solo home run off Arismendy Ozoria. Kevin Encarnacion followed with another solo homer to pull the Cougars within 4.

Encarnacion popped out to end an eighth-inning threat with the bases loaded against Craig Stem (11th save). Stem recorded the game's final four outs.

The Cougars and Loons play the second of their three-game set Thursday night with a 6:30 first pitch from Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. Right-hander Jose Rosario (0-5) starts for the Cougars against lefty Tom Windle (0-0).

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