DAYTON, OH – The Great Lakes Loons (35-28) bested Dayton (34-28) at Day Air Ballpark Thursday night to claim the top spot in the High-A Central’s East Division, 10-3 the final score. After a 1-5 start to the season to begin May, Great Lakes had yet to pace the division.
DAYTON, OH – The Great Lakes Loons (35-28) bested Dayton (34-28) at Day Air Ballpark Thursday night to claim the top spot in the High-A Central’s East Division, 10-3 the final score. After a 1-5 start to the season to begin May, Great Lakes had yet to pace the division. The Loons entered Thursday’s contest fresh off a Wednesday doubleheader sweep against the Dragons to enter Thursday a half-game out of first. Lake County falling in Lansing Thursday night gives the Loons sole possession of first place in the East.
Justin Yurchak improved his league-best batting average (.380) with his fifth multi-hit game in his last five games, finishing Thursday 3-for-4 with two runs batted in and scoring three times himself. Since a .095 month of May, Yurchak finished 38-for-80 in June (.475), and is currently 20-for-45 in 13 games in July (.444). Yurchak has doubled in every game against the Dragons this week, nearly doubling his season total.
Brandon Lewis also finished 3-for-4, knocking his fifth Loons homerun since joining the club from Low-A Rancho Cucamonga on June 29. Lewis hit 10 with the Quakes in 44 games before joining the Loons, where he’s hit five in 14 contests. The two-run Lewis homerun on Thursday cleared the center-field batters’ eye in straightaway center before exiting Day Air Ballpark and bouncing onto the adjacent Sears Street in Dayton.
Andy Pages doubled for the third time this series Thursday night, on his way to a 2-for-5 night, scoring twice. In his first 10 games in the month of July, Pages struggled with two hits in 34 at-bats, dropping his batting from a .265 to a .226 entering the Dayton series. Through his first three games against the Dragons, Pages is 6-for-11 with a double in every contest and three RBI.
Loons starter Jose Martinez (W, 4-1) recorded his third quality start of the season in Thursday’s win, allowing only three runs in his five innings. A bullpen effort from Franklin De La Paz, Andrew Shaps and Kevin Malisheski limited the Dragons to no runs in the final four innings, striking out five batters and only surrendering one hit.
Great Lakes offensively taxed Dayton’s starter Eduardo Salazar (L, 2-3) for eight runs on eight hits in four innings, scoring four in the opening half-inning in Thursday’s game. The Loons sent 13 batters to the plate in the first and second inning, causing Salazar’s pitch count to clear 50 pitches thrown entering the third. After only allowing three homeruns in 59 1/3 innings, the Loons got a two-run homerun from Justin Yurchak in the second and the Lewis two-run longball in the third.
In the recent six-game series against the Lansing Lugnuts at Dow Diamond, the Loons tallied over 10 hits just once, doing so with 14 on July 6. Great Lakes was held to 24 hits combined in the next five games, averaging less than six hits a night in that span. Through the first three games against Dayton this week, the Loons have a combined 36 hits, averaging 12 per contest.
With their three wins to start the week, Great Lakes has won their last five games against the Dayton Dragons, spanning back to back-to-back wins on June 12 and 13 at Day Air Ballpark. Thursday night’s win guarantees at least a series split for the Loons after an overall record of 3-9 in their first two series this season.
Great Lakes now intends to take the series on Friday night in Dayton, with a first pitch scheduled for 7:05 P.M. EDT from Day Air Ballpark. The Loons send Bobby Miller to the bump for his 10th start of the season on Friday night. In 36 1/3 innings, Miller leads the Loons with 40 strikeouts. Batters are averaging a .188 against Miller in 10 overall appearances this season. Dayton, the High-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, are housing a rehab assignment in right-hander Jeff Hoffman, who will start Friday’s game for the Dragons. Hoffman has hovered from the minor-league level to the Majors, and is in his first year with Cincinnati after spending his first five years with the Colorado Rockies. Hoffman has 39 strikeouts at the major-league level in 10 starts, holding a 4.61 ERA in 41 innings. Coverage begins with the Loons On-Deck Circle, Built by Three Rivers, on ESPN 100.9 FM at 6:35 P.M. EDT.
The Great Lakes Loons have been the Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team’s inception in 2007. Dow Diamond serves as the team’s home and also houses the Michigan Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, and ESPN 100.9-FM. For tickets or information about the Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.