After the high-fives on the infield and the music was cranked up in the clubhouse, Luis Bolivar stood by the desk in his office with the only postgame smile he’s worn since Aug. 5.
“Home, sweet, home — it’s nice to be back home,” he said.
The Dragons were back at Fifth Third Field on Wednesday night after a 13-game road trip in which they lost 11 games including their last eight to fall into last place in the Midwest League Eastern Division. On this night the Dragons forgot about that road trip with a 7-0 victory over Lake County.
“They came ready to play, very energetic,” Bolivar said. ‘The last few games they played hard. It wasn’t meant to be for us.”
The Dragons (21-31 second half) have the worst road record in the Midwest League at 19-42. But six losses in the losing streak were by one run and they are still within four games of the last available playoff spot.
“You’ve just got to make sure you fight through it because baseball is eventually going to give games to you,” Dragons third baseman Alejo Lopez said. “You just have to understand that’s the way it goes some times and it happens to a lot of teams.”
The Dragons won with seven strong innings from starter Patrick McGuff (2-4). He allowed two hits, walked one and struck out six in 85 pitches.
“Patrick did an outstanding job going deep in the game and mixing his pitches well and attacking the strike zone,” Bolivar said.
The Dragons took a 2-0 lead in the fifth with a run on an error and a single by Jose Garcia. Andy Sugilio tripled in a run in the sixth and capped a four-run seventh when he beat the pitcher to first on a bouncer to the first baseman. Sugilio is known for his speed. His triple was to left-center and was cut off before it reached the wall.
“I have God-given talent running the bases and I’m aware of that,” Sugilio said through Lopez, who translated. “When I hit the ball like that I always approach it as if I’m going to get to third. Once I hit it I was confident I was going to get there.”
Sugilio, who is from the Dominican Republic, is batting .326 in his last 11 games and has an eight-game hitting streak. He has overcome some hamstring problems and has raised his average above .260 and on-base percentage to .300. He has also improved his first step and routes to balls in the outfield by working with coach Kevin Mahar.
“He’s going the right direction now,” Bolivar said. “He’s got all the tools to be a superstar. He’s a very exciting player. He can run and he’s got a good arm and he can hit from both sides of the plate. We have a lot of big thoughts for him. I like him a lot.”
The Dragons had an unusual start to their four-run seventh inning. They hit for the cycle with a home run by Leandro Santana, a triple by Reshard Munroe, and RBI single by Raul Wallace and a double by Jose Garcia.
“They were ready to hit,” Bolivar said. “Good things happen when you’re ready to hit and you get a good pitch and you drive it.”
Especially at home.
Dragons tales: Jonathan India, this year’s Reds first-round draft pick, is slumping. He’s 1 for 20 in his last six games and batting .184 since joining the Dragons on July 30. He has two doubles, a home run and four RBIs with the Dragons.
• Reliever John Ghyzel made an unusual eighth-inning appearance in relief of McGuff and pitched the final two innings. He has converted a league-leading 18 saves in 21 opportunities.