Hurtubise leads Dragons past Captains

Dragons second baseman Francisco Urbaez tags out Lake County's Quentin Holmes to end the third inning Wednesday night at Day Air Ballpark. Holmes was thrown out trying to steal second by Dragons catcher James Free. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Dragons second baseman Francisco Urbaez tags out Lake County's Quentin Holmes to end the third inning Wednesday night at Day Air Ballpark. Holmes was thrown out trying to steal second by Dragons catcher James Free. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

Dayton Dragons batters failed seven times to produce hits with runners in scoring position through seven innings Wednesday night. Recently, that’s the way it’s been for the Dragons.

But Jacob Hurtubise was ready for opportunity No. 8.

“Just the number of games you play over the course of the year, you’re going to get one or two of those situations every once in a while,” Hurtubise said. “It’s all about your mindset and just being prepared to hit when the time comes.”

With the bases loaded in the eighth inning, Hurtubise lined a tie-breaking, two-run double into the right-field corner to lift the Dragons to a 5-4 victory over Lake County.

“I love Hurtubise,” said Dragons second baseman Francisco Urbaez. “He just grinds at-bats, and I knew something was going to happen. And it happened.”

After Tuesday’s loss, manager Jose Moreno talked about his team’s recent struggles to get the big hit with men on base. After Wednesday’s win, he got to talk about something good.

“Always when Jacob does something like that, he deserves it because he plays 100 percent all the time,” Moreno said. “I’m very happy for him.”

The Dragons held on in the ninth as Francis Peguero allowed a leadoff homer before retiring the next three Captains for his fifth save.

The Dragons (40-33) remained a half-game behind East-leading Great Lakes (41-33) and Cedar Rapids (41-33) in the race for the second playoff spot. Quad Cities (47-25) has a firm hold on the top seed for the five-game championship series.

The Dragons have struggled to put together more than two or three consecutive wins for the past two weeks and have slipped out of first place where they had spent most of the season.

“Huge win, huge win,” Urbaez said. “It brings momentum to the team, so hopefully we bring that tomorrow.”

The Dragons also piled up six extra-base hits, too. New Dragon Garrett Wolforth tripled and scored on Victor Ruiz’s sacrifice fly in the third for a 1-0 lead. James Free had two doubles. And Urbaez doubled home Michael Siani from first and later scored on a wild pitch to tie the score 3-3 in the seventh.

“I was just sticking with my approach, looking for a pitch I can drive,” said Urbaez, who had two hits to raise his batting average to .342. “I know Siani can run, and it happened. Thank, God.”

Eduardo Salazar started for the Dragons and allowed two runs on four hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings. Salazar and reliever Matt Gill benefitted from four double plays to tie a season high. Urbaez started three of them and shortstop Miguel Hernandez turned one alone.

“We’ve been practicing on it and just having fun out there,” Urbaez said.

The Dragons almost had five DPs, but Captains leadoff hitter Cody Farhat barely beat out a throw from Urbaez in the sixth. After a wild pitch, George Valera hit a two-run single for a 3-1 lead.

“The guy was quick,” Urbaez said. “I didn’t think he was going to be that quick.”

Davis traded: The Reds traded Dragons starting pitcher Noah Davis on Wednesday to the Colorado Rockies as part of a deal to strengthen the Reds’ bullpen. The Reds acquired veteran Mychal Givens for Davis and Daytona Beach starting pitcher Case Williams. Davis, rated the Reds’ No. 26 prospect by MLB Pipeline, was 3-6 with a 3.60 ERA in 13 starts in Dayton. Davis was at Wednesday night’s game.