ROCHESTER, N.Y. - The comeback attempt was exhausting, the result, exasperating.
Despite rallying from seven runs down, the Toledo Mud Hens, dropped thefinal contest of their eight-game road swing to the Rochester Red Wings, 9-8 in 10 innings yesterday afternoon.
A one-out single that Frank Charles sliced to the opposite-field down the line in right off Toledo reliever Matt Miller (0-1) allowed Darnell McDonald to scamper in from second with the winning run.
It sent the Hens to their third loss in four tries against Rochester, which possesses by far the worst record (41-70) in the International League.
Despite that, Toledo manager Bruce Fields was able to view the glass as half-full.
“When you come back from being down 8-1,” he said, “that says a lot to me about my club. We have some fight. We could have just given up and surrendered, but we didn't. We battled. I'm proud of that.”
The Hens fell into their predicament after starter Mark Persails was torched for five runs in the first and three more in the third.
Persails worked four innings in all, serving up 10 hits and four walks. Two of those hits came in the first inning - a two-run homer by Calvin Pickering and a three-run shot by Darnell McDonald.
“Let's face facts,” Fields said. “Persails was not good. He got beat up.”
Yet by the sixth inning, Persails was completely off the hook, the Hens having chipped away methodically at the deficit.
Brian Rios started the comeback with a lead-off homer in the fourth, his 11th, which made it 8-2. Toledo scored once more in that inning, and three times in the fifth to close to within two runs.
Jermaine Allensworth's double off Rochester reliever Jason Lakman brought in one run and Pedro Santana followed with a triple, which scored Allensworth. Santana then came in on Rios' infield out.
The Hens made it all the way back in the sixth, scoring twice after loading the bases.
Newcomer Luis Pineda pitched superbly in relief for the second straight game since his call-up last week from Double-A Erie. Pineda allowed just two runners, both on singles, in four scoreless innings. He has yet to allow a run, and has given up just three hits in eight innings.
“He shut the door,” said Fields.
There was a scary moment in the bottom of the third, when shortstop Jhonny Perez and left fielder Trace Coquillette knocked heads while both were chasing Steve Sisco's pop fly
Coquillette got the worst of it. He was knocked woozy, but left the field under his own power, sporting a cut around his left eye.
The Hens will have an off-day today before beginning a brief three-game set at Skeldon Stadium by playing two with the Columbus Clippers tomorrow starting at 5:30. Shane Loux (7-7, 5.66) and Mike Maroth (7-10, 4.49) will get the call for Toledo.