DAYTON, Ohio – Pabel Manzanero lined a game-winning hit off the left field fence with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Dayton Dragons came from behind to defeat the Fort Wayne TinCaps 5-4 on Sunday afternoon.
The win was the seventh in a row for the Dragons, who had to battle back from a 4-0 deficit to earn their first “walk-off” win of the season. A crowd of 7,603 was in attendance at Fifth Third Field as the Dragons won despite trailing by more than three runs for the first time in 2019.
The Dragons were down 4-0 midway through the contest and eventually tied the game with three runs in the eighth inning before pushing across the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. The seven-game winning streak is their longest since they won nine straight games April 9-20, 2018.
With the score tied 4-4, Dayton’s Randy Ventura led off the bottom of the ninth inning by reaching on an infield single. Michael Siani followed with a single to right that moved Ventura to third base, and Miles Gordon was given an intentional walk to load the bases. Jay Schuyler grounded to third base with Ventura thrown out at the plate for the first out. Manzanero fell behind in the count 0-2 before connecting on a high, deep drive to left field that hit the fence and brought in Siani from third to end the game.
The Dragons fell behind 4-0 before scoring in the bottom of the fifth on Ventura’s single that brought in Carlos Rivero from second to make it 4-1. In the eighth inning, Schuyler doubled to left-center field with one out and scored on Morgan Lofstrom’s two-out single to center to make it 4-2. Miguel Hernandez walked to move Lofstrom to second, and both runners advanced one base on wild pitch. With runners at second and third with two outs, Brian Rey delivered a pinch hit two-run single to center field to tie the game.
Fort Wayne got a lead-off single in the top of the ninth against Dragons reliever Connor Bennett (1-4), and after Bennett retired the next two hitters, he issued a two-out walk to put runners at first and second. But Xavier Edwards, the Midwest League’s leading hitter, popped out to shortstop to end the threat.
The Dragons finished the day with 13 hits, matching their season high. Ventura was 3 for 4 with a run batted in. Siani, Manzanero, and Lofstrom each had two hits. Gordon had one hit and has had at least one hit in all seven games he has played since joining the Dragons, batting .414. The Dragons had three stolen bases including two by Siani, giving him a league-leading eight in the month of June.
Dragons starting pitcher Ricky Salinas worked four innings and threw 72 pitches, allowing two runs on four hits with two walks and one strikeout. Carlos Machorro followed Salinas and tossed two and two-thirds innings, allowing two runs on three hits with four strikeouts. Eddy Demurias retired all four batters he faced, getting two strikeouts. Bennett pitched one scoreless inning to earn the win.
Notes: Siani is batting .360 over his last 14 games with 16 runs scored…Manzanero’s long drive off the left field fence to end the game missed by a few feet of becoming the first Dragons walk-off home run since 2015 by Aristides Aquino.
Up Next: The Dragons (24-39) and TinCaps (28-33) will close out the series at Fifth Third Field on Monday night at 7:00 p.m. as the Dragons try for a four-game sweep. Jared Solomon (1-3, 3.60) will start for the Dragons against Gabe Mosser (4-2, 3.50). The homestand will continue with games against the West Michigan Whitecaps through Thursday, June 13.