A missed sign proved to be the key for the Mud Hens to snap their three-game losing streak Monday night. Brandon Douglas, steaming toward third base in the bottom of the eighth inning, didn’t see the sign from manager Phil Nevin to stop at third.
“As I was coming toward third base, I saw [Nevin] waving me on,” Douglas said. “As soon as I hit third, I just concentrated on home.
“Thank goodness I was safe. If I would have been out, I would have been in big trouble for sure.”
Douglas scored on a two-out single by Argenis Diaz to give Toledo a 1-0 win over Rochester at Fifth Third Field. It was just the team’s third win in the last 14 games.
“It was probably good that I put [the sign] up a little late,” Nevin said. “It was an aggressive play by Douglas. He was going on the pitch, but once I saw the first good relay throw I tried to hold him up.
“But he put his head down, and fortunately the throw to the plate was a little off-line. We got a break there.”
The run by Douglas helped the Hens to their third shutout win of the season. Starter Derek Hankins limited the Red Wings to just four hits and three walks in seven solid innings.
“The three walks early are very uncharacteristic of him,” Nevin said. “But he was able to make his pitches when he needed to and got out of those innings.”
Hankins pitched around two walks in the first, and in the second he needed a strong defensive play by Nick Castellanos in left to maintain the shutout.
With one out and runners on first and second, Rochester’s Doug Bernier singled to left. Castellanos got to the ball quickly and threw a strike on the fly to home, where Bryan Holaday easily tagged out Brian Dinkelman.
After that Hankins allowed just two hits, retiring 16 of the last 18 hitters he faced. Phil Coke worked around a single and an intentional walk to pitch a scoreless eighth in a rehab assignment with the Hens, while Bruce Rondon recorded three strikeouts in the ninth for his fifth save.
Problem was, the Toledo offense continued its struggles, managing just three hits — all by Diaz — and two walks in 6 1/3 innings off Rochester’s Andrew Albers.
In the seventh, Danny Dorn singled with two outs off reliever Tim Wood, then tried to score on a double by Holaday. But Dorn was thrown out at the plate, and the game remained scoreless until the game-winning dash by Douglas in the eighth.
“We’re in a funk, and maybe we’re putting too much pressure on ourselves,” Douglas said. “We’re gripping the bat maybe a little too tightly, and the hits just aren’t coming.”
“I’m glad the gamble going home worked out, because this is a huge win for us. You can tell how excited we are about the win, and hopefully this gets the ball rolling to get some more wins.”
NOTES: OF Avisail Garcia was scratched from the starting lineup for a second straight day. Nevin said he expects Garcia, who missed the past three games with a finger injury, to play today. … OF Quintin Berry, who was struck above the right elbow with a pitch Friday, also is expected to return to the lineup today. … Coke bought a postgame spread, making it the fourth time in five days he was responsible for the food.
Contact John Wagner at:
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