Dragons pitcher Ricky Salinas earned the start against the visiting South Bend Cubs at Fifth Third Field on Monday, July 8, 2019. JOHN CUMMINGS / CONTRIBUTED

Dragons rally in ninth to stun Cubs, 5-4

The Dayton Dragons scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to take a 5-4 win over the visiting South Bend Cubs at Fifth Third Field on Monday night.

“It’s fun when you win a game,” Dragons manager Luis Bolivar said. “It was a good finish. They put it together and battled the whole night. They didn’t give up and that is huge.”

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Mariel Bautista recorded a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth before Claudio Finol singled with two outs to keep hopes alive.

Michael Siani singled home Bautista. Miles Gordon was hit by a pitch and a single to center by Bren Spillane tied the game at 4-all.

Pabel Manzanero sent the 7,381 in attendance home happy with a single to right to score Gordon with the game winner.

“It is a constant reminder to them how good they can be,” Bolivar said. “Good things happen if you play the game the right way. When you grind, good things can happen, but they have to believe in themselves.”

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Dayton had struggled in the first two games against the Cubs, being out-scored 11-0 and going 18 innings without a run before getting one on the board in the bottom of the first. The Dragons loaded the bases with one out, but got just one run out of it, on a fielder’s choice by Juan Martinez.

Dayton had chances in the second and eighth innings, leaving the bases loaded in the second and stranding a runner at second in the eighth.

Finol’s single rolled the lineup back around to the top of the order for the Dragons in the ninth.

“That’s what you want to do,” Bolivar said. “You want to roll the lineup back around for big situations and thankfully that happened.

“The whole series, we had had our chances but couldn’t get the big hit. It is good that they believed in themselves and came through and got the big hits.”

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South Bend had taken a 4-1 lead on a pair of home runs, but the Dragons held the Cubs in check the rest of the way, allowing just five hits and walking one.

“(Ricky) Salinas pitched very well, but he has been solid and very consistent for us,” Bolivar said. “The rest of the guys came in and stepped up and did what we needed them to do.”

The Dragons get a rare day off Tuesday before entertaining the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of the Midwest League Western Division in a three-game set beginning Wednesday.

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