Dragons top Kernels, snap five-game losing streak

Elly De La Cruz and Allan Cerda blasted home runs and reliever Donovan Benoit fired two scoreless innings to protect a one-run lead as the Dayton Dragons defeated the Cedar Rapids Kernels 6-5 on Tuesday night. The win snapped the Dragons five-game losing streak.

The Dayton win, coupled with a loss by the Great Lakes Loons, cut the Dragons magic number to clinch a first-half division championship to five. The Dragons are in first place in the Midwest League East Division, 4 1/2 games ahead of Great Lakes with nine games to play in the first half season.

Tuesday night’s game was a matchup of the leaders in both divisions of the Midwest League.  Cedar Rapids leads the West by two and one-half games.

The Dragons scored a season-high four runs in the first inning, keyed by a three-run home run by Allan Cerda, his 10th homer of the year, and a run-scoring single by Justice Thompson.  Cedar Rapids responded with three runs in the bottom of the first.

The Dragons added two more runs in the top of the second when Nick Quintana singled and Elly De La Cruz blasted a two-run home run to right field to make it 6-3.  The homer was the 12th of the year for De La Cruz.

Dragons reliever Miguel Medrano, in just his second game with the team this season, entered the game in the fourth inning with the bases loaded and two outs after Cedar Rapids had pulled to within two runs at 6-4.  Medrano worked out of the jam and gave the club three and one-third innings of quality relief, allowing just one run in the seventh on a two-out infield popup that fell untouched to allow Cedar Rapids to make it 6-5.

Dragons closer Donovan Benoit replaced Medrano to start the eighth and retired six of the seven batters he faced to earn the save.  Benoit allowed a lead-off single in the bottom of the ninth but struck out the next three batters to close out the win.

The Dragons collected 13 hits in the game.  De La Cruz and Cerda each had three hits, both finishing a triple short of hitting for the cycle.  Justice Thompson had two hits and an RBI.

»»Joe Boyle, the scheduled starter on Tuesday, was scratched due to illness.  The Dragons hope he can start a game later in the series.

The Dragons play an afternoon game at Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, starting at 1:05 p.m. (EDT) in the second game of the series. Thomas Farr (0-2, 5.59) will start for Dayton.


Dayton at Cedar Rapids, 1:05 p.m., 980