West Michigan Whitecaps Pitcher Fernando Perez allowed the leadoff batter to reach base in each of his four innings and paid for it as the West Michigan Whitecaps fell 9-1 to the Lansing Lugnuts on Saturday in front of a sellout crowdLSJ Logo incert of 9,350 fans at Fifth Third Ballpark.

The Whitecaps fell to 35-24 and remain a game behind first-place South Bend in the Midwest League’s first half standings.whitecaps logo not for feature art

Lansing took the early lead with a run in both the second and third innings on run-scoring singles from Justin Atkinson and Gunnar Heidt, respectively.

In the bottom of the third, Whitecaps All-Star infielder Will Maddox celebrated his 24th birthday with an RBI-double to cut the deficit to 2-1 ballgame.

In the fourth, Perez struggled to get the final out of the frame while allowing five consecutive batters to reach base before West Michigan went to the bullpen. The Lugnuts scored four times, highlighted by Juan Kelly’s two-run single.

In the contest, the Lugnuts got their leadoff man on-base in seven of their nine innings at the plate against Whitecaps pitching.

Perez (1-2) gave up six runs in 3.2 innings, tying the most runs given up by a Whitecaps starting pitcher this season in taking his second loss. Lansing pitcher Sean Reid-Foley (4-3) held the ‘Caps to one run in seven innings. Maddox led the Whitecaps with two hits including a double and an RBI.