Dayton, Ohio-The Great Lakes Loons scored four runs in the top of the first inning and held on to defeat the Dayton Dragons 8-3 on Thursday night. The two clubs split the four-game series.
Despite the loss, the Dragons will hold onto the lead in the wildcard race in the Midwest League East Division with three games to play in the first half race. The Dragons lead South Bend by one game and Lansing by two games pending the completion of the second game of a doubleheader Thursday night between South Bend and Lansing. A South Bend loss would create a tie for third place between the Cubs and Lugnuts, both one and one-half games behind the Dragons. The Dragons lead would be trimmed to one-half game if South Bend wins that game (Click Here for an update of the South Bend-Lansing game).
The Dragons fell to 40-27 on the season. They tied a club record for most victories at home in a half. They went 25-11 at Fifth Third Field in the first half.
Oneil Cruz blasted a three-run home run in the first inning for Great Lakes as part of a four-run inning. The Dragons started back in the third on a solo home run by Hector Vargas, and Taylor Trammell connected on a solo homer in the fourth to make it 4-2. Later in the fourth inning, Bruce Yari walked and went from first to third on Michael Beltre's double. Brantley Bell grounded out to third to drive in Yari and make it 4-3 as Beltre went to third. But Cassidy Brown flied out to right to end the inning.
Great Lakes scored one run in the top of the fifth to extend their lead to 5-3. The Dragons put together a major threat in the seventh when they loaded the bases with two outs in singles by Vargas and T.J. Friedl and an error. Taylor Trammell connected on a long drive to left field that chased Mitchell Hansen back toward the fence, but Hansen reached up and made the catch to end the inning and strand three runners. Great Lakes scored three runs in the eighth to take command with an 8-3 lead.
Dragons starting pitcher Tony Santillan (4-3) worked four and two-thirds innings, allowing six hits and five runs with four walks and four strikeouts to take the loss. Santillan was struck cleanly by a line drive that registered at 106 mph off the bat of Cruz on the last play of the top of the second, but he was able to return for the third inning and pitched into the fifth.
The Dragons collected nine hits. Vargas was 3 for 4 with the home run, his third of the year. Friedl was 2 for 4.
Up Next: The Dragons will close out the first half with a three-game series at Fort Wayne starting Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Scott Moss (8-2, 2.47) will start for the Dragons against Fort Wayne's Logan Allen (4-3, 1.88).
All Dragons games are broadcast on radio on Fox Sports 980 WONE and on the internet at wone.com. Games are also available on the Dayton Dragons mobile app.
For Dragons 2017 ticket information, call (937) 228-2287.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.