DAYTON, OH – Gabriel Moreno belted his 11th home run of the season, a two-run shot, and the Lansing Lugnuts (26-24, 58-61) held on late to beat the Dayton Dragons (21-29, 49-71), 4-3, on Monday night at Fifth Third Field.
The victory completed a three-game road sweep and extended the Nuts’ winning streak to four games – which matches Lansing’s longest winning streak of the season, set from April 15-18.
Coupled with South Bend’s 3-1 loss in Fort Wayne, the Lugnuts pulled within one game of the Cubs for the Eastern Division’s final playoff berth. 20 games remain in the regular season.
With the game scoreless in the third inning, a two-out fielding error by Dayton shortstop Miguel Hernandez allowed Griffin Conine to reach. Moreno followed with an impressive drive over the wall in right-center, supplying a 2-0 lead against Dayton right-hander Jhon De Jesus (Loss, 2-13).
Starter Sean Wymer (Win, 7-11) tossed 5 1/3 innings, allowing only a Jay Schuyler solo home run in the fourth, and striking out three, while the Lugnuts increased their lead to 4-1 on a run-scoring wild pitch in fifth and a Rafael Lantigua RBI single in the sixth.
That 4-1 lead remained in place until a last-ditch Dayton rally in the bottom of the ninth against closer Cre Finfrock. With one out, Cameron Warren singled to left and Hernandez doubled him to third. After Miles Gordon popped out, pinch-hitter Morgan Lofstrom delivered a two-run double to pull the Dragons within a run. Mariel Bautista walked, putting the game-winning run aboard, but Finfrock struck out Michael Siani to end the game and record his league-leading 14th save.
Moreno, Lantigua and Yorman Rodriguez each finished 2-for-4. Rodriguez supplied a single and a double, giving him 10 hits – five for extra bases – in his first four Lugnuts games.
After a league-wide day off on Tuesday, the Lugnuts return to Cooley Law School Stadium on Wednesday, August 14th, to open a seven-game homestand against Fort Wayne and Dayton. To live the Lug Life and purchase tickets, visit lansinglugnuts.com, call (517) 485-4500 or come to the Cooley Law School Stadium box office at 505 E. Michigan Ave. in downtown Lansing.