Desperate times call for desperate measures.
And the Mud Hens, losers of eight of their previous nine games, were starting to get a little desperate.
So they tried things such as voodoo dolls and a change in managers to try and change their luck.
No such luck, though, as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre pinned a 5-2 loss on the Hens at Skeldon Stadium yesterday.
The Hens were without manager Bruce Fields, who was at home because of a flu bug that has made its way around the Toledo clubhouse.
But a bigger problem for Toledo was Scranton starter Brandon Duckworth, who limited the Hens to just six hits in eight innings of work and added to his league-leading strikeout total by fanning nine.
“He threw the ball pretty well from where I stood,” said Toledo hitting coach Leon Durham. “But we're taking too many first-pitch strikes, and then when he spotted the breaking ball for a strike we were down (in the count) 0-2. That's no way to make a living.”
The Hens did score a run in the second on a line-drive homer by Tom Evans and another in the sixth on an RBI groundout by Evans, but that was all.
But three other potential rallies were thwarted when the Red Barons turned double plays.
In the second inning, Jermaine Allensworth's line drive to third was snagged by Kevie Orie and turned into a double play. In the fourth, Scranton's P.J. Forbes made a diving stop of a hard grounder up the middle by Carlos Mendez and turned it into a 4-6-3 double play. And in the ninth Allensworth's hard shot back to the mound was converted into a game-ending double play by reliever Doug Nickle.
There was no such luck for Hens starter Adam Bernero, who before the game was greeted by a ceramic statue on the mound that was supposed to wipe away the bad karma that has followed him much of this season.
The young right-hander entered the game with a 2-6 record and 4.90 ERA in 11 starts after going 3-1 with a 2.47 ERA in seven starts with the Hens last year.
The voodoo doll didn't work, though, as Bernero gave up 10 hits and walked four in 52/3 innings, allowing all five Scranton runs and losing his fourth straight decision.
Bernero gave up a homer to Gene Schall to start the second, and Schall added a two-run single in the third. In the fifth the Red Barons padded their lead on RBI singles by David Francia and Reggie Taylor.
Tonight the Hens and Red Barons will complete their four-game series at Skeldon Stadium as Mark Johnson (5-4) will face Scranton's Dave Coggin (4-3) starting at 7 p.m.
NOTES: Fields is expected to return to the dugout for the Hens tonight ... Scranton's Ed Vosberg was diagnosed with contusions in his left, or pitching, hand after being struck by a line drive off the bat of the Hens' Randall Simon Saturday. “It was on me before I could react,” Vosberg said. “I just put my hand up to protect my chest.” The liner bounced off Vosberg's hand to Scranton shortstop Nick Punto, who retired Simon at first to escape a bases-loaded jam with two outs in the ninth. Vosberg is expected to be able to throw again in four days ... Simon saw his 10-game hitting streak snapped yesterday. Simon was 0-for-3 with a walk but is still ranked among the International League batting leaders with a .320 mark.
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