Dragons dig early hole in loss to Whitecaps

West Michigan’s Danny Pinera collected a home run, double and two singles to lead the Whitecaps to a 7-5 victory over the Dayton Dragons on Tuesday night at Fifth Third Field. The clubs have split the first two games of a four-game series.

The Whitecaps built a 5-1 lead with two runs in the third inning and three more in the fifth. The Dragons started back in their half of the fifth inning, getting a lead-off inside-the-park home run by Taylor Trammell to make it 5-2. Trammell’s inside-the-park homer was the first for the Dragons since Shed Long circled the bases on a ball in play on Aug. 31, 2015.

West Michigan added a run in the seventh to make it 6-2, but the Dragons responded with two in the bottom of the inning. Trammell reached on his third hit and Jose Siri was safe on an error. Taylor Sparks followed with a two-run single to make it 6-4.

But West Michigan continued to apply the pressure. The Whitecaps scored again in the eighth to extend their lead to 7-4. The Dragons scored in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI double by Mitch Trees to cut the deficit to two runs, but Whitecaps reliever John Schreiber entered and retired the final five batters for the save.

Dragons starting pitcher Wennington Romero (3-10) was charged with the loss. He allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings, surrendering 10 hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

Dayton finished with nine hits. Trammell was 3 for 5 with his 10th home run. He also stole his 33rd base.

The Dragons, now a dismal 15-36 in the second half, battle West Michigan again tonight, sending Scott Moss (11-6, 3.63) to the mound.

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