Whitecaps end Dragons’ five-game winning streak

Francisco Urbaez’s batting average is the second best in the High-A Central League at .336. And it’s safe to speculate that Reds minor-league hitting coordinator CJ Gillman saw it coming in spring training.

Gilman watched Urbaez hit in Arizona and started calling him Urbarrels, and his Dayton Dragons teammates have carried it on. Yes, the barrel of Urbarrels’ bat has done a lot of damage to baseballs this season, hitting the ball hard to every field. He was at it again Friday night with two doubles.

“I love it, I love it, I love it,” Urbaez said of his nickname. “It’s just different … I love it.”

Urbaez’s doubles, however, weren’t enough for a change. The Dragons saw their five-game winning streak end in a 4-1 loss to West Michigan.

The Dragons (34-24) maintained a 2.5 game lead over Lake County and 3.5 lead over Great Lakes in the East Division. Both teams lost Friday.

The Dragons were in the habit during the first four games of the series of building an early lead. But the Whitecaps’ Keider Montero finally gave his team a chance. He worked 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run on six hits and a walk. Three relievers held the Dragons to one hit.

“They played a great game – their starter was really good,” Urbaez said.

The Dragons fell behind 3-0 after four innings as the Whitecaps used a little manufacturing of runs and timely hits. Eric De La Rosa was hit by a pitch to start the third, stole second and third and scored on Andrew Navigato’s single. Wenceel Perez followed with a triple.

Dragons starter Noah Davis (2-5) was activated from the injured list before the game and made his first start since June 29. He allowed two earned runs on three hits and three walks and struck out seven. He did enough to keep the Dragons close.

Urbaez doubled to lead off the sixth and scored on a single by Victor Ruiz. The Whitecaps added a run in the eighth, and the Dragons made a little noise in the ninth. They’ve been the best comeback team in the league, winning nine times after trailing by at least three runs.

With one out, pinch hitter James Free struck out but reached first base on a dropped third strike. Michael Siani doubled and Free went to third. But Zack Hess got the final two outs for his fourth save.

“We tried to come back,” Urbaez said. “Sometimes that happens. That’s baseball.”

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