Cougars thump Dragons in series finale, 13-4

Dragons starting pitcher Adrian Rodriguez has a tough assignment: show he’s fully recovered from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery.

From Mexico and acquired by the parent-club Cincinnati Reds as a free agent in 2014, Rodriguez missed the last half of the 2016 season after being injured and all of last season.

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He had hoped to finish off vising Kane County (Diamondbacks) for a sweep at Fifth Third Field on Monday night. Instead, he was tagged with the loss (4-5, 7.63 ERA) after being lit for eight earned runs and nine hits in 3.1 innings.

“It was tough on him,” Dragons manager Luis Bolivar said. “Hopefully, (he’ll) make some adjustments and come out better next time. He needs to keep working and keep getting stronger and good things will happen if you keep doing that.”

The Cougars (46-48), of the Midwest League Western Division, tallied four runs in the first inning and the rout was on. Kane County’s Jazz Chisholm had two home runs, a triple and two singles. He accounted for five RBIs and four runs to dismantle Dayton (43-50), which had a three-game win streak snapped.

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Raul Wallace had a solo homer for the Dragons and Jose Garcia had his fifth straight two-hit game.

The Dragons are 12-13 in the second half and one game out of wildcard pursuit. If they’re to improve on that position anytime soon it’ll be on the road. Off Tuesday, Dayton is at Wisconsin on Wednesday and travels to Beloit on Saturday for three games each to wrap up intra-division play.

“Hopefully, we kick in to do what we have been doing,” Bolivar said. “I know we’re going to get hot and get a good winning streak. When that happens, we’re going to be in the thick of it.”

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Dragons tales: Pitcher Packy Naughton, who extended a scoreless streak to 24 innings during a defeat of Cane County on Sunday, was named the Midwest League pitcher of the week for July 9-15 on Monday.

Naughton is a left-hander from Boston and was a ninth-round draft pick by the Reds in 2017 out of Virginia Tech University. In his last four starts Naughton has allowed just two runs over 27 innings (0.67 ERA). He went six innings in a 5-3 defeat of Cane County and improved his record to 5-8 (4.04 ERA). His 104.2 innings pitched leads the Midwest League.

In his prior start on July 9 Naughton was at his best, going eight shutout innings with nine strikeouts and allowing just two base runners in a 5-0 win at Great Lakes.

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• Former Dragons outfielder Taylor Trammell, promoted to the high Class A Daytona Tortugas this season, had a homer and triple to earn MVP of Sunday’s SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Washington’s Nationals Park.

Current Dragons pitcher Hunter Greene, The Reds’ No. 1 pick and second overall in the 2017 draft, went 1.1 innings, allowing two hits and two runs to go with a walk and one strikeout. He topped out at 103.1 mph and didn’t dip below triple digits.

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Team USA defeated the World Team 10-6 to kick off Major League Baseball’s three days of All-Star Game festivities.

Greene (3-7, 4.69 ERA) has made 16 starts, all with the Dragons. He turned his season around his last nine appearances: 46.1 innings, 35 hits, 14 earned runs (2.72 ERA), 54 strikeouts and 10 walks. His next scheduled start is Friday against the Timber Rattlers at Appleton, Wisconsin.

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• Garcia, the Dragons second baseman and leadoff hitter, was punched out by a rare call in the fifth inning. The Havana, Cuba native, who speaks virtually no English, was repeatedly motioned by the umpire to return to the batter’s box after he stepped out each pitch. The umpire ended the routine by calling him out with just two strikes.

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Bolivar questioned the ump but there were no fireworks. It was a seldom-seen call that became popular in the 2015 season. There is no time limit for an at-bat and it’s on the ump’s discretion to make that call. It was recorded as a strikeout.

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