DURHAM, NC. - Franklyn German threw a pitch in the dirt with the bases-loaded, allowing George Lombard to race home from third with the winning run as Durham beat Toledo 4-3 last night in the second game of a doubleheader.
Durham won the opening game 6-3.
German, making his first appearance for the Mud Hens since being sent down last Sunday by Detroit, came into the game in the bottom of the sixth inning in relief of Eric Eckenstahler (3-4) with one out and runners at first and second.
German struck out Jason Smith on four pitches, then grazed Jared Sandberg with an inside change-up to load the bases. German had a 2-0 count on Ryan Jackson when he threw a fastball that bounced in the dirt and got by Brandon Inge.
Lombard, a former Tiger, scored easily from third.
“[Detroit pitching coach Bob] Cluck called us and said [German's] having trouble right now throwing his fastball over,'' Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said.
``The first hitter that he faced [Smith] was a guy we knew had trouble against anything like a change-up. I told him to just go right after him with splits.
“He struck him out and then the right-hander came up there and he threw him the fastball and that was going everywhere. He needs a lot of work right now.''
Toledo jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Cody Ross unloaded on the first pitch he faced from Bulls starter Cedrick Bowers, sending it over the left-field wall for his 10th homer of the year. Wendell Magee later tripled and scored on an Ernie Young RBI single.
The Bulls answered back in their half of the first. Lombard tagged the first pitch from Gary Knotts for a homer to cut the Mud Hens' lead to a run.
Ross tripled and scored in the third on an Omar Infante sacrifice fly, making it 3-1.
Knotts spent most of the 42/3 innings he pitched working his way out of jams. The Bulls scored a run off Knotts with one out in the bottom of the third to cut the Toledo lead to a run before loading the bases. Knotts got a double-play ball to escape the inning with the lead.
The Bulls loaded the bases again in the fourth but came away empty-handed. Then Knotts surrendered the tying run in the fifth before being lifted for Eckenstahler with the bases loaded and two outs.
Eckenstahler struck out Pete LaForest to end the inning.
“He's got good stuff. He just still needs to learn how to pitch,” Parrish said. “Everything he throws is hard, hard, hard. He doesn't know when to come in and when to pitch away yet. But he's got a great arm. Everything is there to put the package together.”
The Bulls, who left 10 men on base for the game, caught a break with the bases-loaded situation in the sixth and came away with the win.
“We kept dodging bullets and finally one found us,” said Parrish.
In the first game, Nate Robertson (5-6) was hit hard, giving up six runs on nine hits over five innings.
“He just got a lot of balls in the middle of the plate tonight,” Parrish said.
Matt Diaz tripled, homered and drove in four runs for the Bulls.
NOTES: Hiram Bocachica was the lone bright spot for Toledo in the first game loss, going 2-for-2 with a single, homer, walk and scoring two runs. ... He collided with Smith in the sixth inning of game two and lay on the field for several minutes. He remained in the game but has a tender calf muscle and is not expected to miss any time. ... The Mud Hens are 4-4 on this current road trip.