The Mud Hens took a tip from the weather yesterday.
The thunder and lightning that ripped through northwest Ohio somehow missed Skeldon Stadium. But the Hens used some seventh-inning thunder to forge a tie, then added some ninth-inning lightning to claim a 7-6 win over the Rochester Red Wings.
The win, the Hens' second in a row over the Wings, came thanks to a two-out, ninth-inning RBI single by Chris Wakeland that scored Lyle Mouton with the winning run.
It was set up when the 6-4, 230-pound Mouton stole second base just before Wakeland's clutch single.
“Several guys on this team have the green light to go on their own,” said Hens manager Bruce Fields. “Lyle had a good feel for the right time to go. He got himself in scoring position and Chris drove him in.”
Mouton also provided some of the seventh-inning thunder, cranking his eighth home run in 18 games with the Hens to highlight a four-run rally that tied the game.
Mouton, one of six Hens with two hits against three Rochester pitchers, now has an eight-game hitting streak and is batting .406 in Toledo this year.
But Mouton wasn't the only hitting hero for the Hens, who scored all seven runs with two outs.
“Everyone contributed,” Fields said. “Good two-out hitting is the key to baseball. It entails being disciplined at the plate and swinging at strikes.
“You may not have success every time, but you give yourself a better chance for success.”
The Hens certainly used that formula yesterday, getting six hits in eight at-bats with two outs and runners in scoring position.
And the Hens needed all of those two-out heroics after they fell six runs behind the Red Wings after Rochester's three-run fifth.
Toledo starter Shane Loux struggled with his control, walking two, hitting three Rochester batters and throwing a pair of wild pitches in 42/3 innings.
His wildness resulted in a wild pitch and a passed ball on back-to-back pitches that scored Eddy Garabito in the second. Later that inning, Calvin Pickering hooked a line drive inside the left-field foul pole with Damon Buford on first to make the score 3-0.
In the fifth the Red Wings chased Loux with a three-run rally that included a run scoring on a wild pitch and an RBI triple by Wady Almonte.
But with foul weather in sight down the left-field line, the Hens didn't panic. They scored twice in the bottom of the fifth on RBI singles by Rich Becker and Mouton.
In the seventh, Becker's two-out double started the rally, and Brian Rios tripled him home. Rios scored on Mouton's homer, and after Kurt Bierek drew a walk off reliever Anthony Shumaker, Wakeland followed with his game-tying double.
“The rain never was a factor,” Fields said. “Everyone was aware of the circumstances, but our guys just wanted to score runs, get back in the game and see what happened.”
Tonight the Hens and Red Wings play game three of their four-game set beginning at 7. Mike Maroth (4-5) will start for the Hens against Rochester's Rick Bauer (2-1).
NOTES: Pedro Santana arrived during the early innings of yesterday's game and entered the game in the eighth. Santana left the team last week to return to the Dominican Republic and be with his father, who passed away. ...Reliever Rich DeLucia left the game with two outs in the seventh inning after experiencing elbow pain in his right, or pitching, arm. ... Carlos Mendez pinch-hit and played first base yesterday. He missed Monday's game after being hit on the forearm by a pitch Sunday against Richmond. ... Monday's outburst by the Hens was good for some struggling hitters. Jermaine Allensworth had been hitless in his last eight at-bats before pounding out three hits; Becker was hitless in his previous five at-bats before getting two hits; and Giomar Guevara's seventh-inning hit snapped a 0-for-12 string.