The Great Lakes Loons (24-27) completed a 4-game series sweep, extending its current win streak to seven straight games with a 7-6 victory over the Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds) at Dow Diamond Tuesday night.
The Loons jumped out to a big lead early when shortstop Deacon Liput led off the game with a single, while CF Josh McLain and Great Lakes LF Drew Avans loaded the bases, reaching on back to back bunt singles, before second baseman Devin Mann was walked, allowing Liput to score for a 1-0 Loons lead in the bottom of the first inning with nobody out.
Great Lakes DH Romer Cuadrado followed with a 2-RBI single to drive in McLain and Avans, moving Mann over to third, before Mann was then driven in on an RBI-single by Loons first baseman Luke Heyer, while Cuadrado would eventually score on a sac fly RBI off the bat of third baseman Miguel Vargas for a 5-0 Loons lead after one inning.
Dayton answered with a pair of 2-run homer's in the second when Dragon's catcher Hendrik Clementina (17) drove in third baseman Jonathan India with his seventeenth home run of the season, before Dragons RF Raul Wallace (4) followed with his fourth HR of the year to score designated hitter J.D. Williams, cutting the Loons' lead to 5-4 in the top of the second inning.
The Loons extended its lead in the fourth when RF Chris Roller and Liput each singled to lead off the inning, before they were driven in on a 2-RBI double by Avans for a 7-4 Great Lakes lead in the bottom half of the fourth inning.
Great Lakes starter Alfredo Tavarez (2-4, 3.33 ERA) rolled to his second win of the year after giving up 5-runs on 3-hits and 4-walks, while striking out 6-batters through 5-innings.
Dayton managed to close the gap when shortstop Jose Garcia (5) belted a solo home run in the fifth, while Williams doubled to drive in Dragons LF Andy Sugilio to cut the Loons lead to 7-6 in the top of the sixth inning.
Loons reliever Darien Nunez (3.74 ERA) gave up 1-run on 3-hits, with 3-strikeouts through 2-innings of relief, while closer Melvin Jimenez (SV2, 4.67 ERA) struck out 3-batters throughout a clean final 2-innings to pick up his second save of the year.
The Loons have been closing in on the Fort Wayne Tincaps (24-26) who hold a half game lead in the Midwest League standings for the final second half playoff spot, however, the Tincaps have been on a streak as well, winning its third straight against the West Michigan Whitecaps (24-26) last night, which puts the Loons just a half game back of both teams, creating a 3-way race for the two remaining MWL second half playoff spots with 19-regular season games to play.
Great Lakes will welcome the first place Bowling Green Hot Rods (Tampa Bay Rays) for a 3-game series (Wed-Fri) with game-1 set for 7:05 pm Wednesday evening at Dow Diamond.