In the month since being called up to Dayton, Sammy Diaz has waited for his chance.
Diaz took advantage of his third start at shortstop – and 10th appearance for the Dragons – by reaching base in all five plate appearances Thursday night, scoring three runs and driving in two in a 12-6 win over Lake County at Fifth Third Field.
“I got my chance,” Diaz said, “and I was ready for it.”
Diaz reached on an error in the first and walked in the third before hitting his first home run as a Dragon in the fourth inning. He closed the night with a single and a run-scoring double while also turning in a sterling performance at shortstop.
“It was the Sammy Diaz show tonight,” Dragons manager Delino DeShields said after his squad improved to 22-28 in the second half. “He is a good little player. It is just trying to find some at-bats for him. He has been a good sport for us, he has caught bullpens and he is earning himself some more playing time.”
Lake County got two in the first off starter Radhames Quezada, but the Dragons responded right away. Jefrey Sierra followed Diaz with a single in the home half and both scored on a single to right by Yorman Rodriguez.
Dayton took the lead for good in the third when Rodriguez singled home Diaz and Sierra again for a 4-2 lead. The Dragons added two in the fourth before putting three on the board in the fifth on an RBI single by Nick O’Shea and a two-run homer by Junior Arias for a 9-3 lead.
While the Dragon bats were coming to life, Wes Mugarian was silencing the Captains. Mugarian, originally been scheduled to start, came on in the third inning and went six innings, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out four, to improve to 2-3.
“I just took that starter’s mentality on the field with me,” Mugarian said. “I have come out of the bullpen four times this year and I enjoyed it, but coming in in the third inning, it was kind of like starting. I just wanted to go out and keep the game going; we got a lot of runs, which allowed me to relax and pitch.”
Dayton will try to win the series today with the Reds’ 2011 top draft pick Robert Stephenson getting the ball for the 7 p.m. start.
“Momentum is a tough thing to capture at this level,” DeShields said. “It is day by day, but we should come out in good spirits.”
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