EASTLAKE, Ohio – Eric Haase belted a two-run home to break a 6-6 tie in the eighth inning to lift the Lake County Captains to an 8-6 victory over the Dayton Dragons on Saturday afternoon. The home run by Haase denied a Dragons comeback effort. The Dragons trailed 6-2 after six innings but rallied to eventually tie the game in the top of the eighth.
Reds all-star Aroldis Chapman started the game for the Dragons in his second injury rehabilitation assignment. Chapman pitched to three batters over one inning. He struck out the first batter he faced and then got a pop-out to the catcher. He walked the third batter of the inning on a 3-2 pitch but then picked that runner off first base to conclude his outing. Chapman expects to make two more rehab appearances in the Minor Leagues before being activated by the Reds.
Haase, the Midwest League leader in home runs with six, blasted the homer to right field off Dragons reliever Tony Amezcua (0-1) with no one out and a runner at first in the bottom of the eighth. The Dragons were retired in order in the ninth as they suffered their fifth consecutive loss after winning five straight games.
The Dragons pushed across two runs in the seventh to cut a 6-2 deficit to 6-4. Then in the top of the eighth, Tanner Rahier led off with a home run to left field, his third of the season, to make it 6-5. With one out, Sammy Diaz walked, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on Carlton Daal’s single to right to tie the game.
The Dragons took an early lead, scoring one run in the second on a pair of doubles by Rahier and Diaz to go ahead 1-0. But Lake County scored one run in the third and two more in the fourth to jump out to a 3-1 lead. In the Dayton fifth, Jamodrick McGruder tripled with one out and scored on Jeff Gelalich’s sacrifice fly to make it 3-2. But Lake County responded with three runs in the sixth to extend their lead to 6-2.
Dragons pitcher Ismael Guillon, normally a starter, followed Chapman to the mound, and suffered his roughest outing of the season. He went four and two-thirds innings, allowing four hits and six runs (four earned) with three walks, six strikeouts, and four wild pitches. He was not involved in the decision.
The Dragons finished with eight hits. Rahier had a home run and double. McGruder, and Daal each had two hits. McGruder is 5 for 10 in the series.
The loss dropped the Dragons to 16-12 on the season. They began the day in first place with a one-half game lead on South Bend and West Michigan.
The Dragons meet the Captains again on Sunday in the final game of the series at 1:30 p.m. Amir Garrett (0-2, 6.16) will start for Dayton. Lake County will counter with Mitch Brown (0-4, 6.10).
Notes: The Dragons have scored at least six runs in three straight games, but have lost all three. Dragons opponents have scored at least eight runs in the three games in May after the Dragons led the league in team pitching in April with a 2.52 team earned run average.