Captains get by Chapman, Dragons with 8-6 win
EASTLAKE – The Lake County Captains defeated the Dayton Dragons 8-6 on Saturday despite having to face Cincinnati Reds’ fireballer Aroldis Chapman in a rehab start.
Right-hander Adam Plutko (1-0, 4.43) received the start opposite Chapman (0-0, 0.00), who was slated to toss just one inning of work.
Chapman pitched the first inning, during which he struck out centerfielder Clint Frazier and surrendered a walk to designated hitter Dorssys Paulino before Paulino was picked off and caught stealing to end the threat. Chapman topped out at about 97-98 miles per hour according to Captains’ staff.
Chapman said through his translator, Tomas Vera, that he feels good and has no hesitation about toeing the rubber after he was struck in the face by a line drive March 19.
The Reds’ medical staff told Chapman he’ll make two more rehab appearances before a reevaluation that could return him to the big league squad, Chapman added.
The Captains responded in their share of the third inning off of Ismael Guillon, who relieved Chapman. ShortstopPaul Hendrix singled on a fly ball and a pair of wild pitches pushed Hendrix to third. With one out, Hendrix scored on a third wild pitch to tie the game.
Two more scored for the Captains as Guillon remained erratic in the fourth inning. Paulino and third basemanGrant Fink led off with a pair of back-to-back walks before Fink was retired on a force play at second. First basemanNellie Rodriguez followed with a single to score Paulino. Another wild pitch allowed both runners to advance to scoring position and Hendrix hit a sacrifice fly to score catcher Eric Haase to give the Captains the 3-1 lead.
Meanwhile, Plutko tossed five innings of work until he was relieved by lefty Wander Beras. Plutko’s day consisted of two earned runs on five hits as he struck out five.
The Captains sent Guillon packing in the sixth inning. Fink reached base on a one-out error before Haase tripled to left. Rodriguez followed with a double to score Haase, which ended the outing for Guillon who tossed 4.1 innings and allowed six runs (four earned) on four hits, three walks and six strikeouts.
The Dragons didn’t stop in the seventh as shortstop Carlton Daal singled and McGruder was plunked by a pitch. A balk advanced both runners and Gelalich was also hit by a pitch. That pulled the plug on Beras, who was replaced with Ben Heller. A pair of consecutive groundouts sent two runs home, cutting the Captains’ lead to 6-4.
Heller struggled to hold the lead in the top of the eighth inning as the Dragons crafted a comeback to tie the game. Rahier led off the inning with a solo home run to left and Diaz reached on a one-out walk. A wild pitch pushed Diaz to second and Daal lined a single to right to score Diaz. A throwing error by right fielder Cody Ferrell allowed Daal to take second, but reliever Trevor Frank entered the game to prevent any further damage.
Haase took matters into his own bat in the Captains’ share of the eighth with his league-leading sixth home run of the year. The two-run shot cleared the right field wall for the 8-6 lead.
Frank remained in the game for the ninth and tamed the Dragons to retain the Captains’ second straight win.
Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.