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Dragons lose ugly to Loons

The Dayton Dragons’ 13-4 loss on Sunday to Great Lakes was a lot of things, but a thing of beauty it wasn’t.

The two teams combined for nine errors (three by the Dragons), four wild pitches, a passed ball and a balk. But for Great Lakes first baseman Tyler Ogle, it was a masterpiece.

Ogle was 4-for-5 with five RBIs and two home runs. The first came in sixth, bouncing off the tan wall above the left field fence in the corner. The second in the seventh nearly hit the same spot.

Dayton came into the game tied for the league lead for fewest errors. The Dragons played through two games on Saturday without a single one, but made mistakes allowing two unearned runs in the first inning — then the pile-up began.

“We couldn’t defend today, like we usually do,” Dayton manager Jose Nieves said. “We had a few chances to score, or at least get close, and we didn’t. We couldn’t take advantage, couldn’t defend and we got smacked.”

Getting smacked the most was Dayton starter Robert Stephenson. A former No. 1 draft pick, the California native pitched well in his first two starts, going 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA. Stephenson struck out three in the first inning, but two errors, a passed ball and a balk allowed Great Lakes to score twice.

It got worse in the third when Great Lakes scored five and batted around. Stephenson was pulled after pitching 2 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits, six earned runs and a walk while striking out five.

“A pitcher, being young, games like this will happen,” Nieves said. “Defense can also affect your performance and hurt you in the course of a game. But I didn’t see anything he did that caught us by surprise or got my attention or made me think we need to work on something different.”

Dayton finished with seven hits. The Dragons combined for seven hits during the two games of Saturday’s doubleheader. Prior to Sunday, Dayton had scored a run or less in four of its last five games. The Dragons offense has been hurting from a lack of production — only three of Sunday’s starters had batting averages over .200 prior to the game. Nieves hasn’t been surprised.

“This is a group of kids playing their first full season of pro ball,” Nieves said. “We started with a road trip for seven games, came home to a rain-out then played a doubleheader. It isn’t an excuse. I still trust in them and I’m confident they’ll start hitting.”

Cingrani watch: Cincinnati Reds prospect Tony Cingrani was pulled after two hitless innings during his start Sunday in Louisville. Cingrani could replace Reds starter Johnny Cueto if he misses his next start. Cueto was pulled from Saturday’s start against Pittsburgh with an arm issue.

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