The Dragons might have slugged their way out of a hitting slump Monday night against the visiting South Bend Cubs. But quality pitching is another issue.
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Taylor Trammell (grand slam) and Jose Siri (solo home run) struck in consecutive at-bats, but that wasn’t near enough offense to overcome the streaking Cubs, who posted a convincing 15-8 win. That was the seventh straight loss for the Dragons and seriously challenged their otherwise home-stadium advantage.
Besides a four-game series sweep, the Cubs hit double-digits in scoring three times.
Game changer: Dragons starting pitcher Scott Moss (10-5) leads the Midwest League in wins and strikeouts (115), but that mostly first-half season magic is missing now. He lasted just two innings, allowed seven hits and eight earned runs, much of that damage done with two outs.
South Bend bunched five runs in the first inning and three more in the second to finish off Moss. It was his second straight sub-par, second-half performance. Moss was one of seven Dragons to be named ML East Division All-Stars last month.
His early departure resulted in six Dragons relievers being called upon.
• Trammell unloaded his slam – his sixth homer of the season - in the seventh inning. Siri followed to extend his hitting streak to 18 games.
That broke a tie with former Dragon Ryan Wright (2012) and puts him alone in third place for the best in club history. It’s also the longest in the Midwest League this season. Only former Dragons Cody Strait (19 games; 2005) and leader Carlos Mendez (20; 2009) rank ahead of him.
• Dragons’ shortstop Hector Vargas also had a solo homer in the eighth inning.
Dragons tales: Infielder Shane Mardirosian took on added duty during Sunday’s 13-5 loss to the Cubs. Its bullpen exhausted, he was called upon in the ninth inning as a reliever.
Armed with a fastball that reportedly topped out at 68 mph, the Riverside, California, product stuck out the first batter he faced. “He wasn’t ready for that cheese,” said Mardirosian prior to Monday’s game.
He allowed two hits, one earned run and solidified his spot at second base.
“It’s just one of those things,” said Mardirosian, who guessed he hadn’t pitched in a real game “since high school. I don’t know if I’m more or less proud of it. We were just trying to finish the game. It was one of those things and we’re ready to move on from it.”
• Cubs second baseman Vimael Machin, from Puerto Rico, was just that in the series. He had the Cubs’ first five-hit game on Sunday and 12 hits in all during the four games.
• The addition of Justin Turner (Dodgers) and Zack Cozart (Reds) brought to 10 the former Dragons who named to the Major League baseball All-Star game. Other former Dragons to make the summer classic were Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Edwin Encarnacion, Todd Frazier, Johnny Cueto, Adam Dunn, Travis Wood and Devin Mesoraco.
Six made it while playing for the Reds and four for other teams.
Dayton at Clinton (Iowa), 7:30 p.m. Wed.
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