Ashcraft (1-0) hit a career high of nine in 5 1/3 innings, which is also a season high for the Dragons (6-3). This is the longest run by any Dragons starter this season. He allowed five hits, a step and a deserved run before taking a 3-1 lead. Baseball America rates Ashcraft as the number 28 Red. His fastball was consistently in the mid-90s and was surpassed with 98.
Pucheu entered on the sixth with bases loaded. He went in a lansing (5-4) run but hit three and got four ground ball outs in 2 2/3 innings. Peguero threw two hits in the ninth game to score his first save.
The other constant message from Moreno to his team is to learn when to steal. He loves the running game, especially with a line-up that isn’t full of power hitters. But on Wednesday the dragons were caught stealing twice and picked up once from the first base. He said based on how fast the pitchers were on the plate and how strong the catcher’s arm was, his players didn’t pick good times to steal.
“We have to think about it before we decide to leave,” said Moreno. “So if you’re going to leave, you have to gather all the information you need to make sure you’re 80 percent, 90 percent safe. Today we had a couple of ways to break the number of balls and they go. “
Jonathan Willems and Victor Ruiz were caught stealing in close matches, but Moreno didn’t complain about those decisions. When Quin Cotton finished sixth with 3-2 against the Dragons, he didn’t hesitate.
Cotton stole second place, scoring a catcher throw while stealing third.
“We want to play like this until September 19th,” said Moreno. “We want to put pressure on.”
Quincy McAfee’s RBI double and Cotton’s sacrificial fly gave the Dragons 2-0 lead in the first inning to set a much-needed tone for Ashcraft. Jose Tello hit his first homer 3-0 in the third and had two hits to bring his average to .242.
“It will only be a matter of time before he starts putting together good bats,” said Moreno. “Maybe Tello is one of those guys who at some point will have to wait for a ball to come out of the stadium that it will be.”
Rey Rewards: Brian Rey’s hot bat in the inaugural series at Great Lakes earned him the High-A Central League batsman of the week. The Dragons second baseman hit .333, leading the league with four home runs, 12 RBIs, a slugging percentage of 1,000, six extra base hits, and 21 bases. Rey, chosen by the Reds in the 13th round of the 2018 draft, now hits 0.345 with five homers and 13 RBIs. He’s got a seven-game series.
Next game: The dragons send right-hander Spencer Stockton (1-0, 0.00 ERA) up the hill against Lansing on Friday night. Stockton will make his first start after throwing 4 1/3 innings in a relief appearance. The Reds signed Stockton, 25, as a minor league free agent in 2019 after making seven starts in an independent league in the Detroit area. In two Rookie League stops, he had an ERA of 2.06 in 56 2/3 innings over 10 appearances and seven starts.