DAYTON, Ohio – Pabel Manzanero’s two-out, tie-breaking single in the bottom of the ninth inning brought in Miles Gordon from second base with the winning run as the Dayton Dragons completed their most dramatic comeback of the season on Monday night, defeating the South Bend Cubs 5-4. The Dragons scored four runs with two outs in the ninth inning to overcome a 4-1 deficit to win. A crowd of 7,381 was in attendance at Fifth Third Field.
The Dragons had not scored an earned run over the first 26 innings of the series with South Bend when they came to bat trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth, facing South Bend closer Sean Barry with a 0.83 earned run average. With one out, Mariel Bautista reached on an infield single to start the winning rally. Bautista advanced to second on defensive indifference and went to third on an infield single by Miguel Hernandez to bring the tying run to the plate. Claudio Finol struck out for the second out of the inning before Michael Siani lined a hit to left-center field to drive in Bautista, move Hernandez to third, and make it 4-2. Gordon was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Bren Spillane followed with a line drive single through the middle to score both Hernandez and Siani to tie the game at 4-4. Manzanero fell behind in the count, 0-2, before lining a pitch through the right side of the infield for a hit. Gordon scored standing up and the Dragons had their second “walk off” win of the season.
The game marked the first time this season that the Dragons produced a win despite trailing going to the bottom of the ninth inning, and just the third time all season that they won a game after trailing by three runs or more runs at any point during the game.
The Dragons took an early 1-0 lead but could not capitalize on a chance for a big inning. They loaded the bases with no one out on an error, a walk, and a bunt single by Bren Spillane. After Pabel Manzanero struck out, Juan Martinez grounded out to second base to score Michael Siani from third. With runners at second and third, Jay Schuyler grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.
South Bend took the lead on a two-run home run by Marcus Mastrobuoni in the third to make it 2-1, and they added another run on a solo homer by Fidel Mejia in the fourth and one more in the seventh to extend their lead to 4-1. The Dragons entered the ninth inning with just four hits in the game and collected five in the inning to score four runs and win.
The victory was credited to reliever Connor Bennett (3-4), who pitched a perfect top of the ninth inning and struck out all three batters he faced. Bennett has not allowed a run since May, making 13 straight scoreless relief appearances.
Dragons starting pitcher Ricky Salinas entered the game with a streak of four straight starts in which he allowed one run or less. He worked six innings and finished strong, retiring the final nine batters he faced. Salinas allowed three runs on four hits with no walks and two strikeouts. Carlos Machorro pitched the seventh and eighth innings, allowing one run on one hit with a walk and two strikeouts.
Spillane was 3 for 5 to lead the Dragons nine-hit attack. Manzanero had two hits including the game-winner.
Up Next: The Dragons (7-11, 35-53) do not play on Tuesday. They will open a three-game series with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Milwaukee Brewers affiliate) on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at Fifth Third Field. Eduardo Salazar (4-1, 4.75) will start for the Dragons against Wisconsin’s Adam Hill (6-5, 3.78). The series with Wisconsin (11-7, 42-45) will be followed by a three-game set in Dayton against the Beloit Snappers (Oakland A’s affiliate) starting Saturday, July 13.