CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—The Cedar Rapids Kernels scored four runs in the sixth inning on the way to a 9-5 victory over the Dayton Dragons on Saturday night.
The Dragons lead in the Midwest League East Division was trimmed to one and one-half games. Second place Great Lakes won their ninth game in their last 10 and pulled closer to the first place Dragons. There are five games to play in the first half season. The Dragons magic number to clinch a first half division championship remained at four.
Meanwhile, the win allowed Cedar Rapids to clinch the West Division title as they moved five and one-half games ahead of second place Wisconsin.
Game Recap: Cedar Rapids jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a pair of two-out, bases loaded walks issued by Dragons starting pitcher Christian Roa. Dayton battled back, getting a solo home run by the newest Dragon, Ruben Ibarra, in the second to make it 2-1, and then they tied it in the third when Ibarra delivered a two-out run-scoring single to drive in Elly De La Cruz from second to make it 2-2.
But Cedar Rapids jumped back in front with a run in the fourth against Roa, and another in the fifth against Dragons reliever Manuel Cachutt. The Kernels put together a big inning in the sixth, scoring four runs to extend their lead to 8-2. The first three runs in the inning were charged to Cachutt and the last run was charged to Vin Timpanelli.
De La Cruz drilled an opposite field three-run home run with no one out in the eighth inning to make it 8-5, but the Dragons did not put another man on base after the homer. The last six Dayton batters were retired.
The Dragons finished with six hits. Ibarra and De La Cruz each had two.
Roa (1-3) was charged with the loss. He went four innings, allowing three runs on four hits with four walks and five strikeouts.
Up Next: The Dragons close out the six-game road series at Cedar Rapids on Sunday afternoon at 3:05 p.m. (EDT). James Proctor (4-3, 4.35) will start for Dayton.
The Dragons return home to host the Lake County Captains on Tuesday, June 21 at 7:05 p.m. at Day Air Ballpark in the heart of the Water Street District. The seven-game series will include a doubleheader on June 22 at 5:35 p.m.