Dragons fall late to Lugnuts, 4-3

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Dragons fall late to Lugnuts, 4-3

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Dragons first baseman Bruce Yari tags out Nick Sinay of the Lugnuts after he was picked off first base. The Dragons (Reds) lost 4-3 to the Lansing Lugnuts (Blue Jays) in a Class A minor-league baseball game at Dayton’s Fifth Third Field on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

That winning mojo that served the Dragons so well in the first half of the season? Just feel-good memories now.

The Reds’ Class A minor-league affiliate extended its second-half swoon with a 4-3 series-ending setback to the visiting Lansing Lugnuts at Fifth Third Field on Tuesday night. Dayton limps into South Bend on Thursday having lost 10 of its last 11 games.

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“Every game is tough, but we keep battling out there and working hard and hopefully it turns around soon,” said Dragons manager Luis Bolivar.

Starting pitcher Alex Webb (0-2) lasted 4.2 innings and reliever Joel Kuhnel was tagged with the loss. Trailing 3-0, Dragons first baseman Bruce Yari had a two-run double in a three-run seventh inning to pull even. Lansing answered with the game winner in the eighth.

Trammell had two hits.

»NEXT GAME

Dayton at South Bend, 7 p.m. Thursday

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The Dragons (14-31) are 18.5 games behind Midwest League Eastern Division leader West Michigan. Its roster having undergone a major midseason makeover mostly due to promotions, Dayton could use any spark to jump-start its second half of the season.

“That’s what I was looking for,” Bolivar said. “The main thing is we’ve got to keep the guys focused and stay positive. That’s all you can do. We’ve got to keep the guys closer and we’ve got to stay closer to them.”

Dragons tales: Dayton fans have known this and now so does Baseball America. The trade publication for Minor League Baseball was especially kind to outfielder Jose Siri and Bolivar following publication of its annual “Best Tools” survey on Tuesday.

The survey was voted on by Midwest League managers. Siri was named the best in two categories: Fastest Base Runner and Best Defensive Outfielder. That’s in addition to his record-setting 39-game hit streak.

Bolivar was named the league’s Best Manager Prospect. That’s significant, because the former Dragons player and hitting coach is in his first season as manager after succeeding Dick Schofield. In Bolivar’s favor was guiding Dayton to the first-half wildcard spot in the Eastern Division postseason.

• Siri was a lock to be named the Midwest League player of the month for July, which became official on Tuesday. He led both divisions in home runs (10), hits (43), extra-base hits (19) and total bases (85).

Those were impressive reasons why he also mounted a league-record 39-game hitting streak through the entire month. The streak ended against the Lugnuts last Saturday. Still intact is his 47-game on-base streak, the longest in all of Minor League Baseball this season.

• Dragons pitcher Scott Moss (11-6; 3.66 ERA) is first in the Midwest League in strikeouts (131) and is tied for second in wins. He was chosen by the Reds in the fourth round of last year’s draft out of the University of Florida.

• Dragons second baseman Hector Vargas is hitting just .210, but it’s what he’s done in his last 18 games that has kept him in the starting lineup. In that span he’s batting over .300. Like many teammates, Vargas seemed to be inspired by Siri’s hitting streak, another positive and intangible factor of the streak.

• The Dragons have a rare off day on Wednesday, then open a four-game series at the South Bend Cubs (Cubs). They’ll return to Fifth Third Field on Monday to begin a four-game series against visiting West Michigan.

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Dragons reliever Jesse Stallings. The Lansing Lugnuts defeated the Dragons 4-3 at Dayton’s Fifth Third Field on Tuesday, Aug., 8, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
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