BEES 4, TINCAPS 1: Alvarado continues impressive string of starts

Bees pitcher Luis Alvarado allowed three hits in five innings in Wednesday’s 4-1 win over the Fort Wayne TinCaps. Steve Cirinna/Burlington Bees

By John Bohnenkamp

It was an economical night for Luis Alvarado because of his command of the strike zone, and because of his defense.

Alvarado allowed three hits over six innings, and the Burlington Bees took a 4-1 win over the Fort Wayne TinCaps in Wednesday’s Class A Midwest League game at Community Field.

It was the fourth consecutive win for the Bees (47-42 overall, 8-11 second half).

“Very impressive,” Bees manager Jack Howell said of Alvarado’s night.

Alvarado, a 17th-round pick for the Los Angeles Angels in last year’s Major League Baseball draft, walked one and struck out two. He threw 82 pitches, 55 for strikes.

“Just pounding the zone,” Alvarado said. “They were swinging at good pitches, making contact. It minimizes the pitches that I have to do in an inning.”

That’s been the key for Alvarado (4-5) in his current run. He has a 2.17 earned run average in his last 10 games, allowing 27 hits in 49 ⅔ innings, striking out 52 while walking just 12.

“He’s been good,” Howell said. “He’s the epitome of going after guys, pounding the strike zone. The more you’re going right at people, the better.”

“Throwing a lot of strikes, finishing hitters,” Alvarado said. “Not being so fine, having them make contact.”

Bees catcher Harrison Wenson tags Luke Becker out at the plate. Steve Cirinna/Burlington Bees

The TinCaps (39-48, 6-13) had chances against Alvarado early, but had two runners thrown out at the plate.

Luke Becker led off the inning, and then headed home on Lee Solomon’s double to center field. But Bees center fielder Jordyn Adams made a perfect throw to shortstop Alvaro Rubalcaba, who then threw out Becker.

The TinCaps loaded the bases with one out in the fourth. Justin Lopez’s single scored Grant Little, but Bees left fielder Spencer Griffin made a strong throw to easily get Blake Hunt trying to score.

“Amazing defense,” Alvarado said. “It pumps you up. First, it’s limiting a run, which is very important. It takes stress away from you. It pushes me to do better, because I know that I have people that care and are playing lights-out behind me.”

The Bees tied the game in the fourth on Francisco Del Valle’s sacrifice fly, then took the lead in the fifth on Justin Jones’ solo home run to left field. Del Valle’s two-run double in the sixth capped the scoring.

“Timely hits,” Howell said. “Got ‘em over, got ‘em in.”

Tyler Smith pitched two scoreless innings in relief, striking out four. Mayky Perez pitched the ninth for his fourth save of the season.

Fort Wayne’s Ryan Weathers (2-4), a first-round pick by the San Diego Padres in last year’s draft, gave up five hits and three walks in five innings.

ON DECK: The two teams continue their three-game series with Thursday’s 6:30 p.m. game. Burlington’s Kyle Tyler (4-0, 3.41) will face Fort Wayne’s Sam Keating (3-5, 4.87).

NOTES: Weathers is the son of former MLB pitcher David Weathers. David Weathers played 19 seasons for eight MLB teams. … Jones, who went 2-for-3, has a nine-game home hitting streak. He is batting .327 in the streak. … Adams scored twice and reached base twice. He has reached base in 12 of his last 15 plate appearances. … Attendance was 502.

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