DAYTON, Ohio – Dayton starting pitcher Tony Santillan combined with three relievers to strike out 15 batters and allow only one run as the Dragons defeated the West Michigan Whitecaps 3-1 on Thursday night. The Dragons won three-of-four in the series, the final meetings of the regular season between the two clubs who will meet in the first round of the Midwest League playoffs starting September 6 in Dayton.
By winning three-of-four in the set, the Dragons handed the first place Whitecaps their first series loss of the second half and first four-game series loss of the season. By winning Wednesday and Thursday, the Dragons also handed West Michigan their first back-to-back losses to the same club since they lost two straight to Fort Wayne April 18-19.
The Dragons jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the second inning and another run in the third. John Sansone started the rally in the second with an infield single and scored from first on Hector Vargas’ double to right field. Vargas went to third on Carlos Rivero’s single to center and scored on Randy Ventura’s infield single to make it 2-0. In the third, Jose Siri singled to center to start the inning, went from first to third on a wild pick-off attempt, and scored on Bruce Yari’s sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
West Michigan responded with one run in the fourth inning, but the Dragons pitchers shut them out over the rest of the night.
Santillan (7-7) was outstanding, striking out nine batters over five innings to earn the win. He allowed just one run on four hits and three walks. Jesse Stallings fired two perfect innings, striking out three of the six batters he faced. Dauri Moreta worked a perfect eighth inning, striking out two. Jesse Adams earned the save with a scoreless ninth inning, giving up two scratch singles with two outs before getting a strikeout to end the game.
Dragons pitchers have allowed just one run over the last 19 innings.
The Dragons nine-hit attack was led by Jose Siri, who went 3 for 4 with two stolen bases to increase his league-leading total to 39. Siri needs one home run and one stolen base to become the first Midwest League player since 1982 to record 20 homers and 40 steals in a season. John Sansone and Carlos Rivero each added two hits for Dayton.
Up Next: The Dragons (17-36, 58-65) travel to the Cleveland suburb of Eastlake to open a four-game series against the Lake County Captains (22-30, 49-72) on Friday night at 7:00. Andrew Jordan (5-7, 4.60) will start for the Dragons against Lake County’s Zach Plesac (0-0, 1.13).
Notes: The Dragons won the season series with West Michigan, going 11-8 against the Whitecaps.