Extra innings has not been kind to the Dragons of late. They had dropped all eight of their most recent extra-session contests but snapped that streak Thursday night.
It took 13 innings, but the Dragons were gifted a 6-5 defeat of the visiting Peoria Chiefs (Cardinals) at Fifth Third Field.
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With two outs in the 13th, the Chiefs’ center fielder and right fielder collided on what should have been an easy third out. Instead, Taylor Trammell jogged into second as the Chiefs outfielders collected themselves. The stadium was nearly empty in the outfield at the time, meaning neither could have called the other off for the catch and not have heard each other.
Then it turned worse for the Chiefs. Dragons first baseman Bruce Yari lofted a high popup just inside fair territory in deep left field. Chiefs left fielder Mick Fennell appeared to make the catch for the third out, but the ball popped out of his glove.
Already running, Trammell scored the winning run and the Dragons celebrated. Meanwhile an inconsolable Fennell was the last to reach the Chiefs’ dugout and buried his head in his glove as a coach tried to console him.
The marathon lasted more than 4.5 hours.
It was the second of a three-game series, which will end with Friday’s game. Dayton (51-46) defeated Peoria 8-5 in Wednesday’s opener.
For starters: Pitching continues to be an issue. Dragons starter Matt Blandino was long gone and wasn’t involved in the decision. He lasted five innings, allowing six hits and four earned runs.
The Dragons responded with a four-run fourth inning to pull even at 4-all. Recent addition Malik Collymore, the designated hitter, had a two-run homer.
Trammell had three hits and John Sansone and Hector Vargas two each.
Close, but no … The Dragons appeared to have a win wrapped up after loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Michael Beltre drew a walk, Trammell singled and Yari was intentionally walked to load the bases. On a hunch, Chiefs manager Chris Swauger stuck with reliever Yeison Medina. Good call.
Medina struck out the side to force extra innings.
How it happened: Sansone raced home to make it 5-all in the eighth inning when a medium fly ball by Vargas inexplicably fell for a base hit in front of Chiefs right fielder Dylan Carlson.
• Dragons reliever Alfredo Meno lasted just one out in the seventh inning. He buckled to the first-base side of the infield while trying to field a slow dribbler with either a knee or hamstring injury. Trainers helped him slowly retreat to the dugout.
Mena, from the Dominican Republic, signed with the Reds as a free agent in 2013. He finally made it out of rookie ball at Billings just last June 30.
Dragons tales: Siri extended his hitting streak to 26 games and he did it in the same manner as Wednesday’s series opener. Batting leadoff, both times he hit a high chopper to deep shortstop and appeared to tie the throw to first base.
Both times he punched the air and pointed skyward to a rousing ovation. Siri owns the longest hitting streak in the league since 2010. The Midwest League record is 35, set by Waterloo’s Tony Toups in 1977. Going into Thursday, Siri hit .360 with 10 home runs during the streak. He also is among the ML leaders in most significant offensive stats.
• Statistically, the Dragons have nearly the same team hitting and scoring averages as the first half of the season, which resulted in Dayton claiming a wildcard spot in the postseason playoffs. But pitching is another revealing story.
Everything was working in the first half, starters middle relief and closers. That accounted for a 3.73 team ERA. Since then, the team ERA has ballooned to 4.94.
Unlike last season, the Dragons function best with a green light permanently on. Dayton leads the Midwest League with 51 runners caught stealing, but the Dragons also lead the league in stolen bases (111).
• Attendance was an announced crowd of 9,019, among the largest this season at Fifth Third Field.
• The next three games will be televised live on CW Channel 26.1, Spectrum Ch. 13 and 1013, Direct TV and DISH Ch. 26.
Peoria at Dayton, 7 p.m.
WONE-AM (980), CW Ch. 26.1, Spectrum Ch. 13 and 1013, Direct TV and DISH Ch. 26