South Bend, Ind.-Midwest League strikeout leader Scott Moss won his fourth straight start as the Dayton Dragons defeated the South Bend Cubs 4-2 on Monday night. The win was the 10th in the last 11 games for the Dragons and their 15th in the last 17.
The Dragons improved to 26-11 on the season, continuing to hold the highest wins total in all of Minor League Baseball. They remain in first place in the Midwest League East Division. They lead West Michigan by one game but extended their lead over third place South Bend by two and one-half games. The top two teams will qualify for post-season play over the course of the 70-game first half season.
The Dragons took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Tyler Stephenson singled to left field, went to second when James Vasquez walked, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Brantley Bell's RBI ground ball to shortstop as Bell reached on a throwing error.
In the fifth, the Dragons added three more runs. Hector Vargas blasted a solo home run to make it 2-0. It was Vargas' second homer of the year and second in the last two games. Michael Beltre walked and raced to third on Jose Siri's two-out single as Siri took second on the throw. After Taylor Trammell walked to load the bases, Stephenson grounded to shortstop, but the throw to second for the force was mishandled, allowing both Beltre and Siri to score to make it 4-0.
South Bend scored a run in the bottom of the fifth to pull to within three at 4-1, and added one run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to close out the scoring.
Hector Vargas was 2 for 4 including a home run for the Dragons. Jose Siri also had two hits. T.J. Friedl had a double.
Moss (5-1) worked the first five innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Ryan Hendrix replaced Moss to start the sixth and struck out the side in order in the inning. He allowed the first two batters to reach in the seventh but avoided further problems, getting a double play ball to end the inning. Andy Cox worked a perfect eighth inning. Brian Hunter pitched the ninth for his second save. With two outs and the bases empty, the Cubs stayed alive on a dropped pop-up before a run-scoring double brought in their second run. With the tying run at the plate, Hunter got a game-ending strikeout.
The Dragons battle the Cubs in South Bend in the second game of the series on Tuesday morning at 10:35 a.m. Wennington Romero (3-0, 2.15) will pitch for the Dragons against South Bend's Bryan Hudson (0-1, 5.21). The next home game is Thursday, May 18 when the Dragons host the Bowling Green Hot Rods at Fifth Third Field.
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.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.