The Dayton Dragons saved all of their offense for one inning Sunday at Fifth Third Field, but for the second day in a row it was enough to get a victory.
The home team scored five runs in the bottom of the third inning to wipe out a 2-0 lead that Kane County had built in the top of the inning. The Dragons held on to beat the Cougars 5-3.
Packy Naughton came into the game with a string of 22 consecutive innings without allowing a run. The lefty threw up two more goose eggs in the first two innings before the visitors broke though with a pair of runs in the third inning.
Naughton’s streak of 24 scoreless innings was the third longest for a Dragons pitcher in the last decade. He hadn’t allowed a run since June 24 and had struck out 17 batters and walked only one over his last three starts.
Dragons reliever Jesse Adams went 25 2/3 innings without giving up a run last season, and before that, Daniel Wolford had a string of 34 1/3 innings in 2011. Also a reliever, Wolford went more than two months without allowing a run.
Dayton scored five runs on as many hits in the third inning. Jeter Downs got it going with a ground-rule double to left field that put the first run on the board. Leandro Santana followed with an RBI single to right field, then after a walk to load the bases, Mark Kolozsvary brought home a run with a single throught the left side for a 3-0 game. The Dragons added two more runs on a bases-loaded walk and a force out to take control.
Dragons center fielder Lorenzo Cedrola had a four hit game to raise his batting average to .340. The speedy outfielder has provided a spark to the Dayton lineup since he was aquired by the Reds in a trade with the Red Sox earlier this month.
The win moves the Dragons to 12-12 in the second half of the season and part of a four-way tie for the top spot in the race for two playoff spots in the second half of the season.
Dayton closes out the series and the homestand Monday night at 7 p.m. against Kane County.