COMSTOCK PARK, MI - Danry Vasquez reached base four times in as many tries and the West Michigan Whitecaps won their fourth consecutive game on Wednesday, opening their first homestand of the second half with a 4-0 victory over the Dayton Dragons at Fifth Third Ballpark.
Edgar De La Rosa threw five scoreless innings as four West Michigan (5-2, 38-39) hurlers combined to limit Dayton (3-4, 31-45) to just six hits in their seventh shutout win of the season.
Danry Vasquez led the way offensively, going 2-for-2 with two walks. The leadoff batter reached base in all four of his plate appearances and sparked both Whitecaps' rallies.
The bases were empty with two outs in the third when Vasquez clubbed an opposite-field double over the left fielder's head. Jared Reaves, protecting the plate with two strikes, drove him in with a flare-single into shallow center. Devon Travis laced a double down the left field line that put runners on second and third, and Jeff Holm lined the very next pitch into center for a two-run single and a 3-0 lead.
Vasquez went back to work in the fifth inning, legging out an infield single and advancing to second when the throw from shortstop Zach Vincej bounced past first. He moved to third base on a bunt-single by Reaves and scored on a groundout by Travis that pushed the lead to 4-0.
The pitching staff did the rest.
Shrugging off what had previously been a disastrous month of June, De La Rosa (4-2) sparkled over five shutout innings. He used a heavy sinker to record nine of his 15 outs on the ground and scattered five hits to go along with three strikeouts and one walk. His most challenging sequence came after a leadoff double in the fifth, but De La Rosa responded with three straight bounce-outs to escape trouble. Heading into play on Wednesday, the right-hander had struggled to an 0-2 record and a 15.00 ERA through his first four starts of the month.
Jon Maciel, an 18th-round pick by the Detroit Tigers earlier in the month, added a scoreless sixth inning in his Midwest League debut. He came back out for the seventh and allowed a walk and a single before leaving the game with the Dragons in the midst of their most serious threat.
With men at the corners and one out, Brandon Dailey lifted a fly ball to center field off of Guido Knudson. Connor Harrell caught the ball with a running start and fired a strike to the plate to cut down the runner and maintain the shutout bid.
Following Knudson's 1.2 innings of work, Corey Knebel added a perfect ninth inning in a non-save situation to complete the shutout.
Nineteen-year-old Jackson Stephens (0-2) was saddled with the loss thanks to four runs - three earned - on nine hits over five innings.
The Whitecaps continue their homestand at Fifth Third Ballpark at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday night with the second game of a three-game series against the Dayton Dragons. RHP Jake Thompson (0-1, 4.34) is scheduled to pitch for West Michigan against RHP Sal Romano (4-7, 4.76) of the Dragons on an Altogas Thrifty Thursday and '70s Night. Group and individual tickets can be reserved by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.
Click here to view the box score.