Dragons erase six-run deficit, top Quad Cities

McGarry cracks two home runs to lead Dayton comeback

Credit: E.L. Hubbard

Credit: E.L. Hubbard

Brian Rey was the High-A Central League’s best hitter for two-and-a-half weeks and led the Dayton Dragons to a 10-5 start. When a player hits like that, the call is coming.

The Reds promoted Rey to AA Chattanooga last Friday. The Dragons responded with three straight losses to close last week’s six-game series in South Bend.

“For some reason at South Bend it took so long to get to the last game, and I don’t know why,” Dragons manager Jose Moreno said. “Maybe it was because we didn’t have real good offense. And our tempo was very slow.”

Against Quad Cities starter Asa Lacey, one of the Kansas City Royals’ top prospects and the fourth overall pick in the 2020 draft, the Dragons’ post-Rey doldrums lingered for five innings Tuesday night. He allowed three hits and struck out five. But the run he allowed might have been the beginning of a new fan favorite.

Alex McGarry introduced himself to the Dayton fans with a solo homer in the fourth inning, his first as a Dragon since being promoted from Daytona last week to replace Rey.

Still, the Dragons entered the sixth inning trailing 7-1. Then baseballs started flying over the fence – including a second by McGarry – to spark the Dragons to an 11-7 victory in a battle of the High-A Central League’s first-place teams.

The Dragons (11-8) pulled into a first-place tie with Lake County in the East Division. Quad Cities (13-5) leads the West by 3.5 games.

McGarry spent most of spring training with the Dragons, but a sore oblique muscle landed him on the injured list and kept him in Arizona. He eventually went to low-A Daytona and hit four homers in seven games. He now has six in 10 games.

“The first two games in South Bend he tried to do much, of course, getting promoted,” Moreno said. “But after that he settled down and has put together real good at-bats the last two games.”

The Quad Cities relievers were no match for the Dragons. The comeback began in the sixth when Juan Martinez hit a three-run homer and McGarry followed with his second homer. One out later Quin Cotton homered to cut the deficit to 7-6.

In the seventh, Eric Yang walked with the bases loaded to tie the score. Cotton hit a two-out chopper to third, but two runs scored for a 9-7 lead when the throw sailed over the first baseman’s head. Miguel Hernandez followed with a two-run single.

“It’s not over till the 27th out,” Moreno said. “In spring training, we pulled the team together and talked to them as a staff that we have to play nine games. So, each inning is one game. They won the first two innings, so we have to win the rest of the games.”

Dragons starter Graham Ashcraft allowed five runs in 1 2/3 innings, but the bullpen crew of Sam Hellinger, Jake Gilbert (2-0), Braxton Roxby and Jacques Pucheu combined to allow only two runs on four hits and four walks and struck out nine.

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