BUFFALO - Having lost nine one-run games already this season, you might figure the Toledo Mud Hens were about due to win a close one.
They were, and they did last night, the margin of victory notwithstanding when they took away a hard-fought 9-3 victory over the Buffalo Bisons.
The contest, which was played despite a thick fog that hovered over Dunn Tire Park, didn't become a laugher until the Hens struck for five runs in the top of the ninth.
The Bisons, owners of the best record in the IL, helped out the Hens by committing four errors, which led to four unearned runs. But Toledo did plenty to help its own cause.
Adam Bernero (2-3) hurled five effective innings and departed with a 4-3 lead. Chris Wakeland went 3-for-5 and knocked in three runs. The Toledo defense turned two crucial double plays that snuffed out potentially big Buffalo innings.
“Early on we didn't get all those things,” said Toledo manager Bruce Fields. “And that's why that game remained that close for that long.”
The Hens haven't been the luckiest of teams, but they received a little good fortune in the first inning that helped them take a 2-0 lead.
Jermaine Allensworth doubled to lead off the game, then took third when Giomar Guevara's slow roller handcuffed Bison first baseman Sean McNally.
Randall Simon followed and lofted a fly ball to short center which was too shallow to allow Allensworth to score. But that became academic as Buffalo starter Willie Blair (1-2) was called for a balk, which brought in the run, and gave Simon new life. He took advantage by smacking a single up the middle, driving in Guevara.
Buffalo scored twice in the bottom of the fifth for a 3-2 lead. The damage might have been worse. But Buffalo's Trace Coquillette bounced into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.
Toledo retook the lead, 4-3, with a pair of runs in the sixth.
Evans reached on an error, then took third on Dusty Allen's single. Both men came in when Buffalo right fielder Karim Garcia lost Wakeland's low liner into the fog. Garcia was charged with an error, while Wakeland, who wound up on third, was credited with a single and one RBI.
“Timely hitting,” said Evans, “was the thing we've been lacking all year. But tonight we came together as a team. It was a solid ballgame for us in all aspects.”
HEN NOTES: The Hens said goodbye yesterday to lefty Matt Miller, who was recalled by the Detroit Tigers. His place on the roster was taken by outfielder Kurt Bierek, who came off the disabled list. ... Hens lefty Adam Pettyjohn (1-2, 3.21) will get the call this afternoon (1:05) against Buffalo right-hander Steve Woodard (1-0, 0.00).