Mud Hens manager Bruce Fields returned yesterday after spending the previous two games at a family wedding.
What he saw in a 5-0 loss to Indianapolis at Skeldon Stadium probably left him wondering if some of his players were still a bit under the weather from a wedding reception.
Toledo had more errors (four) than hits (three) and were shut out for the first time since July 5 in losing for the fifth time in the past six games.
“That was embarrassing. I was embarrassed by that,” Fields said. “I don't think the effort was as strong as it should be. The errors and our at-bats were horrible. (It's a shame) they got paid today for that effort.”
What made the loss even more galling was that the Indians were forced to use an emergency starter, Dan Serafini. And yet the left-hander, making just his third start of the year and his first for Indianapolis, stifled the Hens on three hits through the first five innings.
The closest Toledo came to scoring on Serafini was in the first, when Brandon Inge reached second base on a one-out error by Marco Scutaro, then moved to third one out later.
But Inge was stranded there and the Hens never advanced another runner past second against Serafini or relievers Brian Mallette and Brandon Kolb. In fact, Mallette and Kolb allowed just one baserunner over the final four innings, and that runner was erased on a double play.
Meanwhile, the Hen defense opened the door for both of the Indians' scoring rallies. In the second Toledo starter Adam Bernero walked Micah Franklin and gave up a single to Bucky Jacobsen, then threw wildly trying to pick Franklin off second to put runners on second and third with none out.
Bernero coaxed Jesse Levis to pop out, then got Dionys Cesar to lift an easy fly to left-center. But miscommunication between Chris Wakeland in left and Jermaine Allensworth in center resulted in a ball that neither caught, with Franklin scoring and Jacobsen moving to third.
Chip Sell followed by lining an 0-2 pitch to center for an RBI single.
In the eighth the Hens made three errors that resulted in three unearned runs. Jacobsen beat out a swinging bunt against reliever Kris Keller, but Matt Miller came on to get Levis to rap a sure double-play grounder to second. Pedro Santana tossed the ball underhand to Jhonny Perez covering second, but Perez dropped it for an error.
Cesar advanced the runners with a groundout to second that should have ended the inning, and one out later Elvis Pena singled to score the runs.
Pena moved to second when Kurt Bierek overran the ball in right field on his hit. Then Pena stole third, and when Inge's pickoff attempt went past Brian Rios at third, Pena scored the final run of the inning.
“At times we seem to have momentum, but then we play like this,” Fields said. “At this level, I just can't explain it. Maybe some of these guys don't care.
“I don't have to play anybody here except one guy, and everybody knows who that guy is. And that one guy is not the problem.”
The Hens will take today off before beginning a five-game road trip tomorrow in Louisville.
NOTES: Dan Ferguson sang the national anthem before yesterday's game. It was the 100th time Ferguson, a teacher at Rogers, sang the anthem for the Hens; the first time was in 1985. ... Santana stole his 33rd base of the season yesterday. Last year the Hens as a team stole just 33 bases. ... Rios had two of the Hens' three hits yesterday. ... Bernero still is looking for his first home win since April 28 against Indianapolis. He is 1-8 with a 6.09 ERA at Skeldon Stadium this season.