With Class A Fort Wayne a loss away from the end of the season Sunday, Reggie Lawson knew he had an important job.
"Let the team compete. Keep us in the game and do what I do," the Padres No. 27 prospect said. "The main thing I knew I had to do was give us the chance to win."
Video: TinCaps' Greene follows Zunica with a homer
Feeling his curveball was especially effective from the start, Lawson went five innings, working around four hits and three walks while striking out five, in the TinCaps' 6-0 win over the Dragons at Dayton's Fifth Third Field. The victory forced a decisive Game 3 in the Midwest League semifinals.
After Brad Zunica and Marcus Greene Jr. spotted him a two-run lead with back-to-back home runs in the top of the second frame, he worked a perfect bottom half, and staked to a 5-0 lead the next inning, shrugged off traffic before retiring five straight. He stranded two runners in the fifth.
"We had our back against the wall, so you get the two early [home runs] and that gives you a boost," the 20-year-old right-hander said. "You can pitch with an edge and know you have [some breathing room]."
Gameday box score
Osvaldo Hernandez took over for two flawless innings, fanning the first five he faced. Will Headean and Hansel Rodriguez each worked around a baserunner to turn in scoreless frames.
"It's always a team effort. Osvaldo did a great job," said the 2016 competitive-balance pick. "He went out there and did what he had to do, and so did [Headean and Rodriguez] to shut the door."
Video: The TinCaps' Lawson collects his fifth strikeout
Lucas Benenati struck out five and walked one over 4 2/3 hitless innings of relief for Dayton.
Game 3 is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on Monday.
Complete playoff coverage
In other Midwest League playoff action:
Kernels 7, River Bandits 4
Cedar Rapids evened the circuit's other best-of-3 semifinal, getting early homers from No. 11 Twins prospect Travis Blankenhorn and Shane Carrier, and three doubles and an RBI from Caleb Hamilton. Charlie Barnes picked up the win, allowing five hits and three walks over five shutout innings. Decisive Game 3 will take place in Cedar Rapids on Monday. Box score