Jimenez dominates in Captains 11-2 win over Dragons
EASTLAKE- The Lake County Captains (19-17) swept the Dayton Dragons (13-23) out of Classic Park with a convincing 11-2 win on Monday night.
Danny Jimenez (1-1, 3.38), making his first start of the season, set the tone for the Captains in five dominating innings. The left-hander made 12 starts last year for Mahoning Valley, but had previously come out of the bullpen this season after suffering a finger injury.
In five innings, Jimenez baffled the Dragons with his fastball, slider, and unhittable changeup, allowing no hits and walking just one hitter. He was perfect through 4.1 innings before surrendering a walk to designated hitter Ryan Wright. Wright would later come around to score when shortstop Francisco Lindor committed two errors on a single play, the only blemish on Jimenez’s line. He struck out six Dragons en route to his first win of the season.
The Lake County offense remained dormant against Dayton starter Jacob Johnson (1-4, 5.15) until the bottom of the fourth inning. After Bryson Myles reached on an error by shortstop Juan Perez, catcher Alex Lavisky lined a Johnson fastball into the left field bleachers for his eighth home run of the season.
Lavisky finished the night with three RBI to bring his count to 37 for the season. The right-handed hitter’s recent adjustments at the plate, most notably raising his hands in his stance, are finally shaping into results on the field.
The Captains put up another run in the inning to move ahead 3-0 when second baseman Todd Hankins scored on an error after doubling off the left field fence.
The Dragons broke through for one run off of Jimenez in the top of the fifth, but Lake County matched the tally on one the more interesting plays of the season.
With two outs and Francisco Lindor on second base after singling to open the frame, Bryson Myles grounded a ball up the middle. Dayton shortstop Juan Perez made a spectacular diving grab to prevent the hit from going into the outfield, but manager Dave Wallace sent Lindor home anyways.
The throw from Perez beat the Lake County shortstop to the dish, but Lindor was able to evade the tag by catcher Nick O’Shea to score standing.
“The whole purpose of running the bases is trying to score,” said Lindor. “I saw his momentum going forward so I dodged it and he missed the tag.”
Jimenez was relieved by Antwonie Hubbard, who was celebrating his 24th birthday on Monday night. After retiring the first two hitters he faced, Hubbard surrendered a solo home run to second baseman Joe Terry that brought the Dragons within 4-2. However, that was the closest Dayton would get all night.
Jacob Johnson would exit the game after six innings, giving up four runs on eight hits. The move to Cole Green by Delino DeShields turned Dayton’s fortunes sour for the remainder of the evening.
Green walked Lindor and right fielder Jordan Smith to begin the seventh. With runners on first and second, Jerrud Sabourin drove an RBI single to left field, one of three hits on the evening for the Lake County first baseman. Green hit center fielder Bryson Myles with a pitch before being lifted from the game without retiring a single batter.
El’Hajj Muhammad came on a struck out Lavisky and Hankins, but could not escape the inning unscathed. With two outs, Leonardo Castillo dribbled a ground ball to third base that he beat out for a single. An errant throw by third baseman Junior Arias allowed two runs to score on the play, putting Lake County ahead 8-2.
The Captains finished the route when they came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth. The team loaded the bases once again on a fielder’s choice and back-to-back singles by Smith and Sabourin, bringing Myles to the plate. The center fielder delivered a two-RBI single, his third base knock of the night, to push the lead to 10-2. The final Lake County run came around to score on an Alex Lavisky RBI fielder’s choice.
The Captains are now two games above .500 after sweeping the Dragons out of Eastlake and are playing some of their best baseball of the season.
“Guys are starting to see the fruits of their labors,” said Wallace of the recent surge. “There hasn’t been any let down in the work they put in. Each one of these guys has gotten better this year.”
One of those guys is utility man Todd Hankins, who was called up to High-A Carolina after the contest.
Lake County departs after Monday’s contest to begin a four-game road swing against West Michigan that begins on Tuesday evening. The Captains will give the ball to Mason Radeke (5-5, 3.80) in search of their fourth consecutive victory. West Michigan, which sits at 18-18 in the second half, will counter with left-hander Kyle Ryan (5-6, 4.10).