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WKEF-TV ABC 22 News :: Sports - Local Sports - Ervin, Diaz Homer in Dragons 8-4 Win

Ervin, Diaz Homer in Dragons 8-4 Win

Dayton, Ohio—Phillip Ervin and Sammy Diaz hit home runs in a three-run fourth inning while Daniel Wright tossed six strong frames as the Dayton Dragons defeated the West Michigan Whitecaps 8-4 on Thursday night at Fifth Third Field.  The win gave the Dragons a one-game lead on the Whitecaps for the Eastern Division first half wildcard slot with 23 games to play.  The Dragons remained one and one-half games behind first place South Bend.
 
The Dragons trailed 1-0 when Ervin blasted a long home run to left field to lead off the fourth and tie the game at 1-1.  It was Ervin’s first homer of the year.  Two outs later, Avain Rachal tripled to the right field corner and Diaz followed with a two-run home run to right-center to make it 3-1.  It was also Diaz’s first homer of the year.
 
The Dragons built their lead to 6-1 in the fifth inning, loading the bases with no one out on three consecutive singles by Jamodrick McGruder, Jeff Gelalich, and Ervin.  McGruder scored on an error, and Tanner Rahier’s sacrifice fly to center brought Gelalich to make it 5-1.  Rachal followed with a sacrifice fly to left to score Ervin and give the Dragons a 6-1 lead.  They tacked on two more in the sixth, taking advantage of an error and a wild pitch to push the lead to 8-1.  West Michigan got one in the seventh and two in the eighth to close out the scoring.
 
Wright (3-2) was exceptional over six innings to earn the win.  He allowed three hits and one run with no walks and six strikeouts.  The only run against him came on a double-steal in the first inning.
 
Dragons reliever Scott Brattvet entered the game with two outs in the eighth inning and worked out of jam to preserve the lead before pitching a perfect ninth to close out the game.
 
The Dragons collected nine hits.  McGruder went 3 for 4 with a walk, two stolen bases, and two runs scored in the lead-off spot of the batting order.  Gelalich and Ervin each had two hits.
 
The Dragons improved to 26-19 with the win while West Michigan fell to 26-21.  First place South Bend is 28-18.
 
The Dragons host West Michigan again at Fifth Third Field on Friday at 7:00 p.m.  Sal Romano (3-2, 3.38) will start for the Dragons against West Michigan’s Jonathon Crawford (1-1, 2.60).
 
All Dragons games can be heard on WONE Radio (980 AM) and via the internet at wone.com and through the Dragons Mobile App.
 
Notes:  Rahier was 0 for 3 with an RBI as his hitting streak was snapped at nine straight games, the longest of the year for a Dayton player…The home runs by Ervin and Diaz in the fourth marked the first time this season that the Dragons connected on two homers in the same inning…The Dragons eight-run attack came against the league’s top pitching team.  West Michigan’s team earned run average of 2.96 leads the circuit…The Dragons made a roster move before the game, placing pitcher Evan Mitchell on the disabled list and receiving pitcher Nolan Becker from extended spring training.Ervin, Diaz Homer in Dragons 8-4 Win

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BREWERS-REDS

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Johnny Cueto pitched seven solid innings, and the Cincinnati Reds stayed in the chase for the NL's top record by beating the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 on Tuesday night after learning they'll be without their manager for the rest of the week.

The Brewers dropped back-to-back games for the first time in more than a month, and it came at a bad time. They started the day 3 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the final NL wild card spot.

They got no break from the Reds, who clinched the NL Central title on Saturday night.

Manager Dusty Baker met players before the game and revealed he suffered a mini-stroke in addition to being treated for an irregular heartbeat last week. The 63-year-old manager hopes to return to the dugout next week.

REDS-BAKER

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Dusty Baker won't manage the Cincinnati Reds until the final series in St. Louis, giving him time to recover from an irregular heartbeat that left him hospitalized last week.

Baker met with owner Bob Castellini and his team on Tuesday before a game against the Brewers. Bench coach Chris Speier said he'll manage the final three home games against Milwaukee and three in Pittsburgh over the weekend, with Baker taking over for the last three games next week.

The 63-year-old manager was hospitalized in Chicago last Wednesday for an irregular heartbeat, a problem he's had for a while. He was in the hospital for four days, missing the Reds' 6-0 win over the Dodgers on Saturday night that clinched the NL Central title.

INDIANS-WHITE SOX

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago White Sox have lost sole possession of first place in the AL Central race, with the Indians playing spoiler. Gordon Beckham hit into a game-ending forceout with the potential tying run on second base yesterday as the Indians downed the White Sox 4-3.

Down 4-0 in the fourth inning, the White Sox closed within a run when Paul Konerko homered off Chris Perez leading off the ninth. Perez walked a pair of batters with two outs, and Beckham grounded to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who threw to second baseman Jason Kipnis for the force.

Chicago (82-72) had held sole possession of the division lead since September 3. Detroit pulled into a tie for the division lead with its win over Kansas City last night.

T25-OHIO ST-MATCHING UP

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Through four games and four victories, Ohio State's defense has faced a continual drumbeat of short passes, quick routes, screens and sweeps.

Every opponent, it seems, has relied on a sleight of hand.

Now the Buckeyes are looking forward to getting into familiar territory when they open Big Ten play.

When No. 14 Ohio State travels to 20th-ranked Michigan State on Saturday, the Buckeyes anticipate they'll run into a more conventional Midwestern attack. Granted, that means having to counteract the 244-pound blasts of the Spartans' massive Le'Veon Bell.

But after a month of chasing people, the Buckeyes think they might benefit from a change of pace from the subterfuge and rush-avoiding quick-hitters in a trade for raw man-on-man power struggles at the line of scrimmage.

T25-UPTIGHT SPARTANS

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan State's lackluster win last weekend got to coach Mark Dantonio.

After the Spartans beat Eastern Michigan 23-7 Saturday, Dantonio hurried through a terse news conference full of abrupt answers. The Michigan State coach said "next question" seven times in under a minute and was clearly annoyed with the way his team played.

On Tuesday, Dantonio spoke with reporters for around a half-hour, but Michigan State isn't making any players or assistants available this week. The Spartans' coach is trying to send a clear message to his players that it's time to get serious.

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