The Dayton Dragons’ winning streak is at double digits for the first time in 12 years.
Juan Martinez’s bases-loaded triple in the eighth inning lifted the Dragons to their 10th straight victory, 5-2 over the West Michigan Whitecaps in front of 7,483 fans on Wednesday night at Fifth Third Field.
“Every day it seems like it’s a different guy who comes through in the clutch and that’s good,” said Dragons manager Luis Bolivar. “It’s part of being a teammate and being a good group.”
Dayton won 10 games in a row for the first time since 2007, tying its second-longest winning streak in team history. The Dragons longest winning streak came in 2002 when they won 13 straight games.
“Every day we just keep working, keep playing good baseball,” Bolivar said. “We’re staying focused every day.”
The game was delayed more than two hours as rain moved through the area, but that didn’t keep starter Lyon Richardson from having one of his best performances of the season.
Richardson allowed two hits and one walk in six innings of work, striking out seven. Both of the runs he allowed were unearned.
“He did an excellent job,” Bolivar said. “I was very, very impressed. It was his best outing of the year. The way he attacked the hitters, it was incredible. I was very, very happy for him.”
The Dragons took the lead in the fourth inning on a 357-foot home run by Brian Rey, his fifth of the season. With two outs, Schuyler walked and scored from first base on a single by Bren Spillane to extend the lead to 2-0.
Two innings later, the Whitecaps tied the game. Vinny Esposito was hit by a pitch to start the inning and the next batter Wenceel Perez hit a ball to Spillane, who overthrew second base giving the Whitecaps runners at second and third base with no outs. Esposito scored on a throwing error by second baseman Randy Ventura and Perez scored on a double play ball to tie the score at 2-2.
Rey saved a run in the eighth inning, running hard to his right to make a diving grab near the left field foul line to end the inning.
“It was a nice play,” Bolivar said. “The guys pick up each other. He knew it was a tough one and ran hard and far and dove for it. It was a huge play for Brian.”
In the eighth inning, Siani singled, Miles Gordon reached base on an error and Schuyler walked to load the bases with two outs, setting up Martinez’s triple down the first baseline that rolled into the right field corner.
“The guys never gave up,” Bolivar said. “We gave up the lead and then in the eighth they put some good at-bats together and we were able to score those runs with two outs. It was huge.”
Connor Bennett pitched a perfect ninth inning for his eighth save of the season.
First-half finale: After Thursday’s game, the Dragons head to Midland, Mich. for a three-game series with the Great Lakes Loons, its final series of the first half. Dayton starts the second half with a four-game home series against the Lansing Lugnuts June 20 through 23.
Lone selection: Dragons catcher Pabel Manzanero will represent Dayton in the Midwest League All-Star Game in South Bend, Ind. on Tuesday, June 20. He’s hitting .271 with a team-best six home runs, 13 doubles and 27 RBIs.
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