The Bowling Green Hot Rods were unable to get the offense going, dropping the opener of a three-game series to Fort Wayne (Ind.) 4-0 on Tuesday at Bowling Green Ballpark.

Joey Cantillo and three relievers combined to three-hit the Hot Rods, who were shut out for the sixth time this season.

“They did a really good job,” Bowling Green manager Reinaldo Ruiz said. “They pitched well. They went 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position. We went 0-for-6, and I think that was the difference in the game.”

Fort Wayne (29-34) got a solo homer from Justin Lopez in the second, which looked like it would be the only run for most of the night.

Bowling Green reliever Cristofer Ogando worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the top of the seventh.

The Hot Rods threatened in the bottom of the inning after a walk to Chris Betts and single by Grant Witherspoon put runners on the corners with no outs. Bowling Green (38-27) couldn’t bring home the equalizer, with strikeouts by Roberto Alvarez and Seaver Whalen and a groundout by Tony Pena ending the threat.

The TinCaps added insurance late with an RBI single by Blake Hunt in the eighth and a two-run double by Xavier Edwards in the ninth.

“If we would have tied it in that situation, I think the game would have been different,” Ruiz said. “The momentum would have been different, but we didn’t and they scored (three runs over the last two innings) and that was that.”

Cantillo (4-2) allowed one hit over five shutout innings with four strikeouts to earn the win.

Betts and Wander Franco joined Witherspoon with one hit each.

MILLER TIME

The loss overshadowed a solid outing by Miller Hogan, who took the loss despite equaling a career-high with five innings of work. Making his first start of the year for the Hot Rods, Hogan allowed two hits and equaled a career-high with five strikeouts.

“I think Miller did a really good job,” Ruiz said. “He gave us five good innings. His only blemish was the home run, but other than that he was really good tonight.”

PLAYOFF PICTURE

With the loss, the Hot Rods dropped a half-game behind Lake County (Ohio) for second place in the Midwest League Eastern Division and remained 3½ games behind division leader Great Lakes (Mich.) with five games left in the first half. The top two finishers in the first half qualify for the Midwest League playoffs.

UP NEXT

The series continues at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday.

Right-hander Alan Strong (4-2, 2.62) is scheduled to start for the Hot Rods. Strong lost for the first time over his last four decisions in his last start at South Bend (Ind.) on Thursday, allowing three runs and six hits in seven innings. He faced Fort Wayne on April 22, earning the win after allowing one unearned runs in four innings of relief.

Right-hander Sam Keating (2-3, 6.75) is scheduled to start for the TinCaps. Keating will be making his sixth start since joining Fort Wayne on May 11. He took the loss in his last start against Lake County (Ohio) on Thursday, allowing six runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings.{&end}

– Follow Hot Rods reporter Micheal Compton on Twitter @mcompton428 or visit bgdailynews.com.

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Sports Writer. Cover prep sports, Hot Rods baseball, Titans football, and is the Daily News staff film critic.

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