With both starting pitchers tossing up zeros through the first four innings, the Great Lakes Loons finally broke through in the fifth and hung on to defeat the Kane County Cougars 3-2 on Thursday night at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.
Jose Rosario (0-6) did not allow a hit until the fourth when Corey Seager led off with a single. Rosario shook that off before the Loons (44-53, 17-10) grabbed a pair of runs in the fifth. Jose Capellan singled and scored on James Baldwin's double. Baldwin scored on a single by Robbie Garvey.
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Sheldon McDonald relieved Rosario in the sixth while a Jeimer Candelario error on a Brandon Dixon bouncing ball put the leadoff man on. Dixon stole second and scored on another Baldwin single to give the Loons a 3-run cushion.
Tom Windle (1-0) was cruising for the Loons at that point as he surrendered just 2 hits through five innings. In the sixth, the Cougars (35-56, 5-20) finally put Windle on the ropes as Kevin Encarnacion started the inning with an infield single before scoring on a triple by Gioskar Amaya.
Amaya came home when Dan Vogelbach blooped a single to center, and the Cougars were only down by 1.
Windle left in favor of reliever Scott Griggs, who walked the first batter he faced, Giuseppe Papaccio, to load the bases with one away. Griggs rebounded by fanning Willson Contreras and Marco Hernandez to end the threat.
Griggs worked the seventh, Geoff Brown pitched the eighth, and Craig Stem (12th save) closed the ninth, keeping the Cougars hitless over the final three innings.
The Cougars and Loons play the finale of their three-game series Friday at 6:30 p.m. from Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. Cubs right-handed pitcher Scott Baker (0-1) will make his second rehab start for the Cougars against lefty Miguel Sulbaran (6-2).