Looking to sweep first-place Bowling Green, the Dayton Dragons had one of those nights at Fifth Third Field on Friday night.
“It seemed like it was a slow pace and there wasn’t the same energy (Friday), both ways,” Dragons manager Luis Bolivar said after the 5-1 setback. “It was one of those days, but it is something they have to go through and learn from it that they have to come ready to play every day.”
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The Dragons got behind the Hot Rods from the beginning. The guests put up one run on two-hits in the first inning before missing out on a bases-loaded opportunity in the bottom of the second.
Dragons pitcher Jhon DeJesus (2-11) went just two innings, giving up three hits and striking out three before leaving as his inning count continued to climb.
“DeJesus, (Lyon) Richardson and (James) Marinan are close to their limits for the season,” Bolivar said. “We want them to go three (innings) each time out if they can so they can reach through the whole season.”
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Bowling Green added one in the third and fourth and two in the eighth to break it open.
Dayton got its lone run in the fourth inning on a one-out home run by Juan Martinez. The Dragons stranded 14 base runners and were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.
“We didn’t get much going on,” Bolivar said. “When we did have chances; we didn’t take advantage of it.”
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Three Hot Rod pitchers combined to strike out 10 Dragons – a rare double-digit whiff for the hosts.
“Normally we have much better numbers,” Bolivar said. “We have been able to find a way to put the ball in play, but their guys mixed things up and pitched well and were able to get us.”
Bowling Green had other opportunities, loading the bases in the fourth with one out and leaving runners in scoring position two other times, but each time the Dragons defense came through.
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Bowling Green hit into two double plays and was just 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
“I thought (Claudio) Finol played really good,” Bolivar said. “It seemed like he was all over the place and it was good to see that.”
After taking three of four from the Midwest League Eastern Division leaders, the Dragons welcome second-place Lake County to Fifth Third Field for a four-game series. Richardson was scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Saturday at Fifth Third.
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“Overall, this was a good series for us,” Bolivar said. “We took three of four from the first-place team and that’s a good thing for us. We are going to take it one game at a time and see if we can’t keep taking series away.”
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