Clutch hits elude Dragons in loss to Captains

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Clutch hits elude Dragons in loss to Captains

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Dragons outfielder Jose Siri celebrates his home run with Gabriel Ovalle in Saturday’s loss to Lake County. Ovalle’s walk preceded Siri’s seventh-inning blast. NICK FALZERANO / CONTRIBUTED

Jose Siri’s bat continues to sizzle, but the rest of the Dayton Dragons’ lineup couldn’t come up with that clutch base hit Saturday night.

Dayton lost 6-2 to the Lake County Captains at Fifth Third Field in front of an announced crowd of 8,440. Dayton fell to 42-31 overall and 1-2 in the second-half Midwest League season.

A Lake County team that ranks 14th (out of 16) in runs scored and 15th in batting average strung together a patchwork of runs against four Dayton pitchers. The Captains scored two in the third inning, one in the fifth, one in the sixth and two more in the eighth.

Dayton pulled within 4-2 in the seventh on Siri’s eighth homer, his third in five games. The two-run shot to left also scored Gabriel Ovalle, who drew a two-out walk.

Siri has seven hits in his last 14 at-bats. Five have gone for extra bases with three doubles and two home runs. He also has four RBIs and four runs in that span.

Dayton left nine runners on base against Lake County starter Luis Jimenez and reliever Justin Garza, who combined to hold Dayton to six hits. The duo walked five as the Dragons stranded nine, going 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Dayton starter Wennington Romero (3-4) pitched five innings and allowed six hits and three runs. He struck out six and walked one. Jesse Stallings and Aaron Fossas combined to give up seven hits and three runs in three innings. Joel Kuhnel pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts.

Game changer: When Jimenez took the mound.

The right-hander scattered four hits and struck out eight in six innings for the win. Three of Dayton’s hits off Jimenez were doubles, including two leading off an inning, but Jimenez left them stranded. He threw 61 of his 89 pitches for strikes.

Jimenez, who struck out a season-high 11 against Fort Worth on June 13, struck out the side in the third. During a stretch between the third and fifth innings Jimenez struck out seven of nine. Overall, eight different players struck out against Jimenez.

He picked up his first win (1-2) and lowered his ERA to 4.68.

Dragons tales: The Dragons managed six hits against Lake County, and they tried to make the most of them. Five went for extra-base hits. Tyler Stephenson had a pair of doubles, including a leadoff hit in the fourth that landed at the base of the center field wall 402 feet away. He also had a one-out double in the sixth. John Sansone doubled to lead off the second inning and Michael Beltre had a two-out triple in the seventh.

Luke Wakamatsu homered in the fourth to extend the Captains’ streak with a homer to 16 straight games. Lake County entered Saturday ranked second in the Midwest League with 75 home runs, three behind leader Quad Cities. Todd Isaacs also homered in the fifth for Lake County.

On deck: Dayton lefty Scott Moss (9-2, 2.37 ERA) has been rock solid through 14 starts. The Reds’ fourth-round pick in 2016 leads the Midwest League in wins and strikeouts (95). In his last start on June 16, Moss allowed two hits, one run and struck out 11 in 6 2/3 innings in a 4-1 win against Fort Wayne.

The Captains are scheduled to send lefty Tanner Tully (2-5, 3.68 ERA) to the mound. The former Ohio State University pitcher makes his fourth start for Lake County.

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