Dragons return home on a tear

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

Dayton has won 13 of 15 games, leads division by 5 games

The first-place Dayton Dragons return to DayAir Ballpark on Tuesday night just as hot as when they left. And almost as hot as any Dragons team has been in the franchise’s 22 seasons.

The Dragons won five of six games at Fort Wayne last week, have won 13 of 15 since starting the season 3-3 and have yet to lose two straight. At 16-5 the Dragons lead Fort Wayne by five games in the Midwest League East Division. Through Sunday’s games, the Dragons owned the highest winning percentage (.762) in professional baseball (majors and minors).

This group of Dragons – nine of them are rated as top-30 prospects in the Reds’ organization – has the second-best record through 21 games in franchise history. The 2007 team started 17-4 and continued their torrid pace to reach 24-5.

“They’re prepared, they work hard, they buy into what we’re trying to do and how we’re trying to play the game,” manager Bryan LaHair said a week ago after a victory. “When you get a talented group with buy in and chemistry, they have the chance to win some games.”

The 2007 team won the league’s first-half title but lost in the first round of the playoffs. Four times, the last time coming in 2017, the Dragons have lost in the championship round. They are still looking for their first championship.

The Dragons’ next opponent is Lake County (10-11). The Captains are nexttolast in the 12-team league in runs scored, but they bring a league-best 2.95 ERA to town. The Dragons lowered their ERA to 3.98 this week by shutting out Fort Wayne four times.

The four starting pitchers who handcuffed the TinCaps:

· Joe Boyle started the series Tuesday with five scoreless innings and allowed only one hit in a 4-0 victory.

· Bryce Bonnin saw his first action Wednesday and pitched four scoreless innings in a 2-0 victory. Spencer Stockton and Jake Gilbert each pitched two perfect innings of relief.

· Connor Phillips went six innings and struck out 10 in Friday’s 1-0 victory.

· Andrew Abbott capped the series Sunday with 10 strikeouts and six innings of an 8-0 victory.

Boyle (1-0) returns to the mound Tuesday. He has yet to allow a run this season in 13 innings. The other starters this week are Bonnin, James Proctor, Phillips, James Marinan and Abbott. In 10 of 21 games, Dragons starters have not allowed a run.

The Dragons are winning with more than pitching. They lead the league in home runs with 24 and are third in slugging percentage despite being 10th in the league with a .213 batting average.

Alex McGarry continues to be the Dragons’ top run producer with six homers and 14 RBIs while batting .288 with a 1.064 OPS. Since joining the team during the last homestand, outfielder Justice Thompson is batting .310 with three doubles and three stolen bases.

TUESDAY’S GAME

Lake County at Dayton, 7:05 p.m., 980

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