LANSING, Michigan (WDTN) —Alex McGarry hit his league-leading ninth home run and Donovan Benoit worked out of trouble in the eighth and ninth innings as the Dayton Dragons edged the Lansing Lugnuts 5-4 on Tuesday afternoon. The game was the first of six straight for the Dragons in Lansing.
With the win, the Dragons improved their season record to 20-7. They began the day with the second best record in all of Minor League Baseball (120 teams), just behind the Aberdeen IronBirds of the South Atlantic League, who were 19-6.
Game Recap: The Dragons scored three runs in the top of the first inning to take a lead they would not surrender. Jose Torres began the game with a home run to left field, his fourth of the year. Two batters later, Alex McGarry connected on a home run to right with a runner aboard to give the Dragons a 3-0 lead. McGarry’s homer moved him atop the Midwest League home run leader board.
Dayton starting pitcher Joe Boyle, who began the day with a 17-inning scoreless streak that began with his first pitch of the season, worked into the fifth inning with the 3-0 lead. Boyle issued a pair of walks in the fifth and reached his pitch limit with two men on base and two outs, still leading 3-0 as he left the game. Lansing scored one run before the inning ended that was charged to Boyle, the first run he has allowed in 2022. Boyle did not give up a hit in his start on Tuesday while walking six and striking out seven.
The Dragons scored a single run in the top of the sixth on a Lansing error to make it 4-1 before the Lugnuts responded with two runs in the bottom of the same inning to pull within one at 4-3.
Dayton’s Mat Nelson led off the eighth inning with a home run to left field, his second of the year, to build the Dragons lead to 5-3. Lansing pulled back within one in the bottom of the eighth on a home run by Jared McDonald to make it 5-4.
Dayton closer Donovan Benoit entered the game with one out in the bottom of the eighth with the Dragons leading 5-4, with runners at first and second. He pitched out of the jam by getting a strikeout and a ground out. In the bottom of the ninth, Benoit issued a one-out walk, but got a strikeout for the second out, and a game-ending ground out to notch his fourth save.
The Dragons finished the day with 10 hits, their highest total since May 1. McGarry, Nick Quintana, and Ashton Creal each had two.
Notes: The game-opening homer by Torres was the first for the Dragons since Michael Siani opened a game at West Michigan with a home run on June 26, 2019…The Dragons enjoyed their biggest first inning of the season with the three-run frame that featured home runs by Torres and McGarry…The Dragons improved their record in one-run games to 9-1…Dayton is 16-0 when scoring the first run of the game…The Dragons have not lost a game in 2022 in which they held a lead at any point of the game…Dayton improved to 10-3 on the road.
Up Next: The Dragons play at Lansing (11-17) on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. Bryce Bonnin (0-0, 1.17) will start for Dayton.
The Dragons return to Day Air Ballpark in the heart of the Water Street District to host Quad Cities beginning Tuesday, May 17 at 7:05 p.m. For ticket information, go to daytondragons.com or call (937) 228-2287.
On the Air: All Dragons home and road games are broadcast on radio on FOX Sports 980 AM WONE. Games can be heard on smart phones, iPads, and other mobile devices via the free Dragons Mobile App, or on a computer at wone.com. Games are also available on HD Radio on 104.7 WTUI HD 2.