The Dragons were hoping for a better pitching performance on Sunday against the Burlington Bees after allowing 16 runs the last two nights in lopsided losses. They had good reason to hope with Tony Santillan on the mound.
Santillan has been one of Dayton’s best starters this season and had another good performance in a 6-1 win over the Bees, allowing one run and three hits in five innings. Aaron Fossas and Dauri Moreta combined to allow one hit in four innings of relief work.
“He was mixing pitches well and had a good fastball, and it was nice he was able to get us through five,” Dragons manager Luis Bolivar said. “Tony gave his best effort, and the bullpen did a nice job.”
Santillan has a 3.18 ERA, the second-lowest among the team’s starters.
Game changer: A big hit from Bruce Yari broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fifth and put Dayton (52-48) in control.
With two runners on, Yari hit a home run into the lawn section in right field to give the Dragons a 4-1 lead. Yari, an Ontario native, is hitting .309 with runners in scoring position.
“He’s been good at being patient at the plate and getting a pitch to hit,” Bolivar said of Yari. “He’s been huge. When you’ve got runners in scoring position, you’ve got to concentrate a little bit more.”
Dragons tales: Santillan proved in the fourth inning you don’t need to be a baserunner to make a good play with a slide.
Derek Jenkins reached on a fielding error and Jonah Todd hit a single to third base to start the inning for the Bees. The situation worsened for Santillan after he threw a wild pitch that allowed both runners to advance to third and second.
With the runners in scoring position, Burlington’s Richie Fecteau hit a bunt that rolled several feet in front of home plate and stopped in the grass. Santillan sprinted from the mound and slid on the ground, scooped up the ball in his right hand, and tossed it to catcher Mitch Trees. Trees caught the ball a second before Jenkins got to the plate to prevent a run.
“That was a pretty good heads-up play,” Bolivar said. “Tony was paying good attention there in a tough situation to make that play.”
Santillan, a Texas native, picked up the win to even his record at 6-6. He had recorded losses in his previous three starts.
Streak at 29: Jose Siri extended his hitting streak to 29 games with a triple to center field in the fifth. Siri, who was the designated hitter on Sunday, also tripled to center field in the seventh. Since he started the hitting streak on June 22, he has a .346 batting average with 10 home runs and 24 RBIs.
It’s the longest current hitting streak in the minor leagues and the longest in Dragons history. Siri’s streak is also the third-longest in Midwest League history. The league record is 35, which was set in 1977.
On deck: The two teams will complete the three-game series on Monday night at Fifth Third Field. Andrew Jordan (4-6, 4.84 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Dragons against Burlington’s Joe Gatto (5-7, 3.75).