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Dragons OF pounds grand slam as Dayton rallies to stun Fort Wayne, 8-6

Dragons outfielder Lorenzo Cedrola was purchased by the parent-club Cincinnati Reds in an unusual swap: $1.5 million in international amateur signing bonus pool allocation.

That’s a fancy way of saying the Red Sox unloaded the 21-year-old Venezuelan for another international prospect that Boston coveted more.

“There’s a transition from the other organization to coming here, but it’s the same job,” said Cedrola, who was purchased by the Reds on July 2 and immediately sent to the Dragons. “I have the same attitude, to work hard, get better and reach our goals.”

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If he hadn’t previously, Cedrola won over his new teammates on Friday night against the visiting Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres) at Fifth Third Field. The 5-foot-8, 152-pounder turned giant with his first career grand slam in the seventh inning.

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Dragons shortstop Jeter Downs makes a tag at second. Dayton defeated visiting Fort Wayne 8-6 at Fifth Third Field on Friday, July 27, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

It was a mammoth blast that flew just inside the left-field foul pole and toward Requarth Lumber on Monument Street. The ball seemed destined to curve foul, then straightened over the retaining webbing.

“It was very emotional,” said Cedrola with Dragons manager Luis Bolivar as translator. “I’m just very happy. I never imagined it would happen like this.”

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And the Dragons weren’t done. Shortstop Jeter Downs, the next batter, followed with a solo shot – his 11th - that accounted for the final score. Dragons catcher Mark Kolozsvary also launched a two-run homer – his second – in the fourth inning to account for Dayton’s initial runs.

That power surge was needed because the Dragons trailed 5-0.

Dragons starter Packy Naughton lasted five innings, allowing six earned runs, 11 hits and two homers. Reliever Andy Cox (1-0, 7.62 ERA) went two scoreless innings and earned the win. Closer Dauri Moreta was called up to Dayton on game day and earned his first save. He also pitched two scoreless innings and struck out three.

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Dayton (48-54 overall) is 17-17 with the second-half, series-ending win. That bumped the Dragons up to the wildcard lead in the Midwest League’s East Division second-half race.

“That was a nice win,” Bolivar said. “I give a lot of credit to our guys. They never gave up and the pitching staff gave us a chance and we did the rest.”

Dragons tales: Right-handed pitcher Aaron Quillen (0-0, 5.59 ERA) was placed on the 7-day disabled list with a troublesome left knee on Friday. He was recalled to the Dragons for the second time on July 12 from the Greeneville (Tenn.) Reds, a rookie-ball franchise in the Appalachian League that Cincinnati purchased from the Houston Astros after last season.

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Quillen also has pitched for the high Class A Daytona Tortugas this season. He’s a Kingsport, Tenn., native who excelled at Belmont University in Nashville.

• Taking Quillen’s roster spot was Moreta (1-0, 8.25 ERA), who also is in second stay with the Dragons this season. The 21-year-old native of the Dominican Republic was a go-to standout in relief during the Dragons’ 2017 postseason run, earning the win in all three playoff victories.

He was injured in the preseason and started the season in rookie ball with the Billings (Mont.) Mustangs.

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• The Lansing Lugnuts (Blue Jays) were scheduled to begin a four-game series at Dayton on Saturday.

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