DAYTON, Ohio—Six Dayton pitchers combined to scatter seven hits as the Dragons defeated the West Michigan Whitecaps 4-2 on Memorial Day afternoon at Fifth Third Field. The Dragons earned a split of the four-game series with the win and climbed to within one game of the first place Whitecaps in the Midwest League East Division standings.
The Dragons lead third place South Bend by two games in the playoff race after South Bend lost to Fort Wayne on Monday. The top two teams in the division will qualify for post-season. There are 20 games remaining in the first half race.
Cincinnati Reds left-hander Tony Cingrani pitched the first inning of the game for the Dragons on a Major League injury rehabilitation assignment. Cingrani worked a scoreless frame, allowing a two-out walk but getting three ground outs in the inning.
The Dragons took a 2-0 lead in the third inning when T.J. Friedl singled with one out, went to second when Jose Siri walked, and scored on Taylor Trammell’s single to right field. Siri scored on the same play on a throwing error to make it 2-0.
Dayton’s Bruce Yari led off the fourth inning with his third home run of the season to give the Dragons a 3-0 lead. West Michigan started back in the fifth with one run before Josh Lester belted a solo home run in the sixth to make it 3-2. But the Dragons bullpen shutout the Whitecaps over the final three innings.
Dayton closed out the scoring in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI single by Brantley Bell to bring in Trammell and make it 4-2. West Michigan opened the ninth inning with a pair of singles, but Dragons closer Joel Kuhnel got the next three hitters and never allowed the tying run past first base.
Dayton’s Tony Santillan (3-2) followed Cingrani to the mound and was credited with the win. He worked five innings, allowing four hits and two runs with three walks and two strikeouts. Relievers Ryan Hendrix, Aaron Fossas, and Andy Cox combined to work the seventh and eighth innings before Kuhnel pitched the ninth.
The Dragons eight-hit attack was led by Bell, who was 2 for 4 with two stolen bases and an RBI. Yari’s home run extended his hitting streak to six straight games.
The Dragons improved to 33-17 with the loss while West Michigan fell to 34-16.
Up Next: The Dragons open a big three-game series against the South Bend Cubs on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at Fifth Third Field. South Bend is two games behind the Dragons in the playoff race. Scott Moss (7-1, 2.60) will start for the Dragons on Tuesday.