Dragons hold off Lugnuts, improve to 20-7

Dragons first baseman Alex McGarry leads the team with six home runs and 14 RBIs. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

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Dragons first baseman Alex McGarry leads the team with six home runs and 14 RBIs. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

Alex McGarry hit his league-leading ninth home run and Donovan Benoit worked out of trouble in the eighth and ninth innings as the Dayton Dragons edged the Lansing Lugnuts 5-4 on Tuesday afternoon. The game was the first of six straight for the Dragons in Lansing.

The Dragons (20-7) scored three runs in the first and never gave up the lead. Jose Torres began the game with a home run to left field, his fourth of the year. Two batters later, McGarry connected on a home run to right with a runner aboard to give the Dragons a 3-0 lead. 

Dayton starting pitcher Joe Boyle, who began the day with a 17-inning scoreless streak to start the season, worked into the fifth inning with the 3-0 lead.

Boyle issued a pair of walks in the fifth and reached his pitch limit with two men on base and two outs, leading 3-0 as he left the game.  Lansing scored one run before the inning ended that was charged to Boyle, the first run he has allowed in 2022. Boyle did not give up a hit in his start on Tuesday while walking six and striking out seven.

The Dragons scored a run in the top of the sixth on a Lansing error to make it 4-1 before the Lugnuts responded with two runs in the bottom sixth to pull within 4-3.

Dayton’s Mat Nelson led off the eighth with a home run to left field, his second of the year. Lansing pulled back within a run in the bottom of the inning on a home run by Jared McDonald.

Benoit entered the game with one out in the bottom of the eighth with the Dragons leading 5-4 and runners at first and second.  He pitched out of the jam by getting a strikeout and a ground out. In the bottom of the ninth, he issued a one-out walk, but got a strikeout for the second out, and a game-ending ground out to notch his fourth save.

McGarry, Nick Quintana, and Ashton Creal each had two hits for Dayton.

The Dragons began the day with the second-best record in all of Minor League Baseball (120 teams), just behind the Aberdeen IronBirds of the South Atlantic League, who were 19-6.

WEDNESDAY’S GAME

Dayton at Lansing, 7:05 p.m., 980

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