News release from the TinCaps:
Six hits for Giron on historic night for TinCaps
EASTLAKE, Ohio (May 19, 2015) – Ruddy Giron woke up Monday morning in Peoria, Ariz. More accurately, he was woken up. At 3:00 a.m. Mountain Standard Time.
The 18-year-old received a call informing him that he’d be catching a flight from Phoenix to Chicago, and then another on to Cleveland. The TinCaps had a game Monday night against the Lake County Captains, and the shortstop from Santo Domingo Norte, Dominican Republic, was penciled in to lead off two time zones away at 6:30 p.m.
There was just enough time to throw his belongings from Extended Spring Training in a bag, but certainly no time for sleep. And yet, hours after he hitched a ride for the 30 miles from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to Classic Park, it was like a dream.
Ruddy Giron went 6-for-6 Monday in a 9-2 TinCaps win, becoming only the second player in Fort Wayne franchise history to record six hits in a game, and the first to do so in 22 years.
“It feels very good,” Giron said following his historic Midwest League debut. “I’m super happy. It’s a blessing from God. Always have confidence in hard work.”
Giron, whose first name is pronounced “Rudy,” had five singles to start the night. Then, with one out in the top of the ninth inning, the right-handed batter put his name in the Fort Wayne record book with an exclamation point. Giron smashed an 87-mile-per-hour, 3-2 fastball from righty Justin Garcia over the bleachers in left field for the first home run of his professional career.
LISTEN: Call of Giron’s Home Run on ESPN Radio 1380 (WKJG) soundcloud.com/tincaps/
In the TinCaps clubhouse after the game, his teammates chanted his first name — “Ruddy! Ruddy! Ruddy!” — as if they were in Notre Dame Stadium on November 8, 1975.
It hadn’t been quite that long since a Fort Wayne player had a six-hit game, but it wasn’t far off. Rene Lopez, a catcher, went 6-for-6 against the Beloit Brewers on May 27, 1993 at the now-defunct Memorial Stadium in Fort Wayne. That was about four years before Giron was born on Jan. 4, 1997.
And at 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, Giron isn’t quite as small as Ruettiger, but not by much.
“From now on, everyone on this team has to set their alarms for 3:00 a.m.,” Fort Wayne manager Francisco Morales joked. “How about that! I found my new leadoff hitter.”
Take your pick for which of those factors makes the accomplishment most impressive for the Midwest League’s youngest player in 2015. But nothing would have indicated that a sleepless shortstop who hit .168 in 48 games in the Arizona League a year ago was primed for a breakout night. Not to mention, in Giron’s rookie campaign last year, he never had more than two hits in a game.
Funny enough, Giron’s first hit on Monday night — leading the game off — came on a blooper to shallow right field. Lake County’s second baseman Claudio Bautista, attempting to make a running, over-the-shoulder catch, actually got his glove on it.
After that, Giron singled to center field in the third inning, used his speed to beat out a grounder to third base in the fifth, and again legged out an infield-single to short in the seventh.
Along the way, Giron stole a base, scored a run, and defensively had a putout and five assists as he helped turn two double plays.
Giron’s amazing night wouldn’t have been possible without his teammates, of course. The other eight TinCaps in the lineup tallied 10 other hits — four of which were doubles.
Fort Wayne (12-23) took a 1-0 lead in the fourth against lefty Anderson Polanco (L, 2-4) on an RBI-single by catcher Miguel Del Castillo. Lake County (20-18) countered in the bottom half with a two-run homer off the bat of Ordomar Valdez to grab a 2-1 advantage.
The TinCaps answered, however, with four runs in the fifth and three more in the third. Remarkably, seven Fort Wayne hitters drove in a run. Del Castillo was the only player with more than one. He had two.
Meanwhile, on the mound, Chris Huffman (W, 1-1), in his second start of the season, limited Lake County to only those two runs over five innings. Seth Lucio, Wilson Santos, and Colby Blueberg combined for four scoreless innings of relief.
Fort Wayne’s exaltation can’t last long, though. The TinCaps and Captains are scheduled to play Tuesday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. And if Morales has any say, his team will be waking up much earlier than that.