Fort Wayne, Indiana
The Dayton Dragons took a 1-0 lead in the Midwest League Divisional Championship, beating the TinCaps 2-1 on a cool Saturday night in Fort Wayne.
The deciding run came in the eighth inning. Jose Siri hit a one-out single and then advanced to second on a wild pitch by reliever Dauris Valdez. Valdez walked the next batter to put two men on base. Bruce Yari then hit a grounder to shortstop Gabriel Arias that looked to be a routine double play. Arias fielded the ball cleanly and stepped on second, but the throw to first was low and wide, missing first baseman G. K. Young and bouncing out of play. Yari was awarded second base, and Siri came home to score what became the winning run.
The Dragons initiated the scoring in the first inning.
Randy Ventura got things going right away, lacing a single off starter Adrian Morejon. After a second-batter strikeout, Taylor Trammel hit a single to left that sent Ventura sprinting around the bases to take a 1-0 lead. Arias cut off the throw from Nate Easley, trapping Trammel between first and second and leading to a run-down for the second out. Morejon then recorded his second K to end the inning.
The TinCaps lone run came in the bottom of the third.
Easley led off with a single. He moved to second on a wild pitch and then advanced to third on a sacrifice fly by Kyle Overstreet. With two outs, Marcus Greene Jr., the walk-off hero from Thursday’s game, hit a slow grounder up the middle. Dragons’ shortstop Carlos Rivero could not immediately get the ball out of his glove and then rushed the throw. Rivero threw high, pulling Yari off the base, allowing Greene to arrive safely and for Easley to score.
Easley led the offense, getting three hits in four at-bats. Aside from Easley, though, the TinCaps’ bats were relatively cold; the rest of the lineup managed only four hits, all singles. The TinCaps had runners in scoring position only three times, all of which were prior to the fourth inning. Dragons’ pitching combined for 12 strikeouts over the course of the game.
Despite giving up seven hits, Morejon lasted six innings and recorded five strikeouts. Valdez gave up one hit and a walk facing six batters in 1.2 innings of relief. Andres Munoz faced the last six Dragons’ batters, giving up a walk, but recording three Ks.
The TinCaps had some bright spots on defense. Jack Suwinski had four put-outs in right field, and Buddy Reed had three in center. The infield converted two out of three double play opportunities, but the one they missed cost the game.
The series continues tomorrow night in Dayton.
The TinCaps will have to win two on the road to advance.