Johnny Cueto continued his remarkable run for the Dayton Dragons on Thursday night.
Cueto ran his scoreless streak to 19 innings with seven frames of two-hit ball as the Dragons held on for a 3-2 victory over the South Bend Silver Hawks at Stanley Coveleski Regional Stadium.
The 20-year-old right-hander has been virtually unhittable in his last three starts, limiting Midwest League foes to three hits and two walks while striking out 22. He has not lost since April 10 and has not given up a run since May 8 against Cedar Rapids.
Cueto (5-1) surrendered five runs in his first start of the season but has yielded only eight since, lowering his ERA to 2.49. Opponents are hitting just .151 against him, a figure that drops to .106 on the road.
Against South Bend, a team that was held to one hit by West Michigan in its last game on Tuesday, Cueto gave up a two-out single to Trey Hendricks in the second inning before retiring the next 13 batters. The string was broken by Leyson Septimo's leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh.
As soon as Cueto exited, the Silver Hawks sliced their deficit to 3-2. Ricardo Sosa delivered a two-out double off reliever Logan Ondrusek and Frank Curreri followed with his first homer of the season. Pinch-hitter Greg Thomson greeted reliever Blake Hendley with another double, but Pedro Ciriaco flied out to end the threat.
Hendley gave up a leadoff single to Septimo in the ninth but got 2005 top overall draft pick Justin Upton to hit into a double play, then retired Bryan Byrne on a groundout for his 11th save.
Habelito Hernandez staked Cueto to an early lead with a two-run homer, his first, in the second. The Dragons got a key insurance run in the eighth on Brandon Szymanski's RBI double.
All three runs were charged with South Bend starter Cody Evans (1-6), who gave up five hits and two walks while striking out five. The 22-year-old right-hander has lost his last three starts.