It had been almost a year since Fort Wayne pitcher James Needy had been asked to start a game. However, he acted as if it were his role of a lifetime and tossed five innings of one-run baseball to help the TinCaps to a 9-3 win over West Michigan on Friday at Parkview Field.
Needy made his first start since Sep. 2. He got offensive assistance from Lee Orr and Duanel Jones, who each banged out home runs in the victory.
The win completed a three-game sweep of the Whitecaps.
Needy (6-1) pitched a season-best five innings, allowing his only run in the first inning on an Eugenio Suarez RBI groundout. He also struck out a career-high seven batters while walking just one and allowing three hits.
Trailing 1-0 in the fourth, Fort Wayne (28-19 second half) began its offensive surge.
Yeison Asencio singled home Jace Peterson to tie the game at 1. With both Asencio and Mike Gallic, who had reached on an error, on base, Orr hit his team-leading 10th home run of the year over the left-field wall, putting the TinCaps on top, 4-1.
West Michigan (23-24, 59-58) starter Kyle Ryan (6-7) exited after the fourth inning, having allowed four runs on five hits, with one walk and one strikeout.
The TinCaps added two runs in the sixth inning on an error by Suarez. The shortstop allowed a two-out grounder to go between his legs, which allowed both Gallic and Asencio to score.
Fort Wayne led 6-1 heading to the seventh, when it scored two more times on a double by Asencio. Jones added the final TinCaps run with a solo home run, his fifth of the year, in the eighth inning.
Daniel Sarria pitched the ninth for Fort Wayne. He allowed two runs, which set the final at 9-3.