Offensive outburst gives Dragons win over South Bend

The dark, gray skies predicted the first-inning cloudburst that quickly came and went Saturday night at Fifth Third Field. But the offensive outburst by the Dayton Dragons was out of the blue.

The Dragons, owners of the worst record in the Midwest League, jumped on the South Bend Cubs, the best team in the league, for eight runs on eight hits and coasted to an unusually easy and overdue 13-0 victory. It was an emphatic end to a five-game losing streak.

“I was thinking this is pretty nice to see,” Dragons manager Dick Schofield said of his thoughts during the first inning as waved runner after runner around third base. “We’ve had it on the other end too many times. They’ve battled all year — it’s fun to watch the kids have success.”

The Dragons (15-33 second half, 36-82 overall) batted so long in the first inning that a hard rain started and stopped before they collected season highs of runs and hits for an inning while sending 12 batters to the plate. And they did it against red-hot Cubs starter Justin Steele. He entered with a 1.89 ERA and two wins in his past four starts. He didn’t finish the inning and allowed all eight runs.

After Daniel Sweet struck out to start the first, Luis Gonzalez singled to start a run of four straight hits that included RBI doubles by Nick Senzel and Tyler Stephenson. Jociel Veras hit his first home run with the Dragons, a three-run line drive to right for a 6-0 lead. Sweet tripled in a run and Gonzalez singled in the final run of the inning.

Every Dragon in the starting lineup had at least one hit, five had at least two and Veras had four RBIs. The team also set season highs for runs and hits (16) and tied a season-high with five doubles.

“They continued to have good at-bats,” Schofield said.

Dragons starter Ty Boyles (4-8) had the kind of night the Cubs expected from Steele. In his last start, Boyles allowed five runs in six innings and brought a 5.79 ERA into the game. But Boyles kept the first-place Cubs (32-16, 73-44) quiet, — allowing three hits and leaving after 5 2/3 innings with a 12-0 lead and his pitch count at 98.

“He pitched one of his better games,” Schofield said. “It was good to see.”

Manuel Aybar pitched through the end of the eighth and struck out five straight at one point. Braulio Ortiz pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

Sizzling Senzel: Reds first-round pick and third baseman Senzel continues to hit well. He smacked three doubles and has 21 extra-base hits in 39 games since joining the Dragons on July 1. If Senzel had enough at-bats to qualify, his .576 slugging percentage would lead the league. He's batting .324 with 24 RBIs.

About the Author