DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Matt McLain and Alex McGarry blasted home runs and five Dayton pitchers combined on a four-hitter as the Dragons defeated the Fort Wayne TinCaps 9-2 on Wednesday night. A crowd of 6,037 was in attendance at Day Air Ballpark.
The Dragons have won the first two games of the series against Fort Wayne by a combined score of 19-4. Wednesday’s victory guaranteed the Dragons a winning record in 2021, improving their overall mark to 61-55 over the 120-game season.
The win kept the Dragons playoff hopes alive. With four games to play, Dayton trails both Cedar Rapids and Lake County by two games in the race for the #2 seed in the playoffs. Dayton would win the tiebreaker over Cedar Rapids but lose out to Lake County in the event they finish in a tie with the Captains.
To reach the playoffs, the Dragons need to win their final four games and hope Lake County loses at least three of their remaining four games while Cedar Rapids loses at least twice and Great Lakes, the fourth team in the race, loses at least one game.
The home runs by McLain and McGarry both came in a four-run seventh inning as the Dragons extended a 5-2 lead to 9-2. McGarry’s homer, his seventh of the year, was a solo shot. McLain hit his home run, the second of his professional career, with a man on base.
The Dragons jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-run double by Allan Cerda. After Fort Wayne scored one run in the second, Dayton responded with a run in the third to make it 3-1. Fort Wayne cut the deficit to 3-2 with a run in the top of the fifth before the Dragons scored once in the bottom of the fifth on a balk that brought in Ivan Johnson from third to make it 4-2. The Dragons added one more in the sixth before exploding for the four-run seventh.
Thomas Farr, a fifth round draft pick by the Reds earlier this summer out of the University of South Carolina, made his High-A debut as the Dragons starting pitcher. He worked three innings, allowing one run on a solo homer. Farr gave up two hits and one walk while striking out four.
Dragons reliever Stevie Branche, who has been outstanding since arriving from Daytona, fired two scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 0.95. Branche did not allow a hit or a walk and struck out three. Spencer Stockton (3-3) worked a pair of innings following Farr, allowing one unearned run to earn the win. Francis Peguero and Sam Hellinger each tossed a scoreless frame as well.
The Dragons finished the night with 11 hits. McLain was 2 for 4 with three runs batted in. He also scored two runs. Cerda had two hits including the double that brought in two runs. Jonathan Willems and Jacob Hurtubise also contributed two hits for Dayton.
The Dragons stole five bases in the game including two by Willems. Hurtubise had one steal, his team-leading 38th of the season. McLain stole his 10th base in just 25 games.