Here’s something you haven’t read in a while: the Dragons (5-2) remain tied with the Lansing Lugnuts in first place of the Midwest League Eastern Division.
Whitecaps catcher Austin Athmann tags out John Sansone of the Dragons. The Dragons defeated the West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers) 10-8 in a Class A minor-league baseball game at Daytonâs Fifth Third Field on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Game changer: Michael Beltre bailed out a colossal minor-league baseball breakdown with a two-run double that dropped at the base of the deepest part of the left-field wall. That allowed the Dragons to regain the lead, 9-8. Hector Vargas followed with a single that scored Beltre.
AVAIN RACHAL: Meet the Dayton Dragons
A marathon fifth inning was nearly the Dragons’ undoing. With Dayton leading 7-2 and starting pitcher Scott Moss having hit his pitch count, it was time to call on the shutdown bullpen.
STREAKING: Dragons rally for fourth straight win
Instead, West Michigan batted around, benefiting from three walks, three wild pitches, a passed ball and a hit batter. That carnage added up to five runs that drew the teams even at 7-all.
GEM CITY: Dragons starter Andrew Jordan in command
Dragons reliever Jesse Stallings came on in the sixth and immediately was in trouble, issuing a walk. Catcher Cassidy Brown didn’t help. He bounced at least one throwback to Stallings and then lofted the ball over Stallings’ head. That enabled Cam Gibson of the Whitecaps, the son of former Tigers great Kirk Gibson, to race to third and eventually tally the go-ahead run in the fifth.
Dragons tales: Tyler Stephenson, the Dragons' regular catcher, was the designated hitter. He launched a three-run homer in second inning, scoring T.J. Friedl and Hector Vargas. Stephenson's homer, his second of the season, landed in the new left-field party zone.
JESSE STALLINGS: Meet the Dayton Dragons
Vargas had three hits and Stephenson four RBIs. Reliever Jesse Adams (1-0) earned the win, going 2 1/3 innings and striking out two.
• Friedl, batting leadoff again, has hit in all six games he’s played, missing only the season opener.
On deck: The Dragons open a three-game series against the Great Lakes Loons (Dodgers) at Midland, Michigan, on Thursday. Left-hander Wennington Romero (1-0, 3.00 ERA) gets the start. The Santo Domingo native beat Lake County last weekend, lasting six innings and allowing two earned runs in a 7-3 win.
Romero signed as an international free agent in 2014. This is his first season with the Dragons after splitting time with the AZL Reds and Billings Mustangs last season.
Dustin May (0-0, 19.29 ERA) will start for the Captains. The 6-6 red-headed right-hander was torched for five hits and five earned runs in 2 1/3 innings against the Lugnuts (Dodgers) last Saturday. He was a third-round pick out of Northwest High School at Justin, Texas, last year.
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Dayton at Great Lakes, 6 p.m.