It took longer than both parties probably would have liked but the Louisville Bats finally won a series and starting pitcher Bubba Nelson finally won a game.
The Bats rode the right-hander's most effective outing of the season for a 5-2 victory over Toledo yesterday at Louisville Slugger Field.
Nelson (1-5) and Jesus Sanchez kept the Hens' hitters at bay. Toledo only had three runners reach second base the entire game. The victory enabled Louisville to take three of four in the series.
Nelson entered the game with a team-worst 7.04 earned-run average. But the 22-year-old stayed out of trouble most of the way. He retired six of the first seven he faced.
The only times he surrendered runs were when he gave up a lead-off double to Derek Nicholson in the third and a lead-off home run to Eric Owens in the sixth. And even after Toledo grabbed a 2-1 lead, Nelson kept cool and kept his team in the game. Louisville's two-run sixth made him a winner.
“Nelson did a great job,” Louisville manager Rick Burleson said. “He's been battling but maybe trying too hard and pressing. He's got the stuff. It's a matter of being consistent.”
Nelson pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and one walk with three strikeouts.
Don't color Toledo manager Larry Parrish impressed, however. His Mud Hens were facing the same guy that Toledo knocked around late last month for a 9-5 triumph. Parrish seemed more discouraged by his team's lifeless bats and body language. This game came after a Saturday night doubleheader.
“We played today like we played a doubleheader in the rain that went till midnight,” Parrish said.
“To me this guy threw the same as last time. He threw the same pitches. I didn't think his fastball was there, or breaking ball or change-up. His location maybe was better. But I saw the same guy. We didn't hit him. I don't know if we were lucky the time before or we didn't swing the bats as good today.”
After falling behind 1-0, Toledo tied the score in the third when Ust drove home Nicholson. The Mud Hens took the lead in the sixth on Owens' first homer of the season.
But Louisville scored three runs in the sixth and single runs in the seventh and eighth.
Toledo returns home tonight to start a four-game series against Ottawa.
Dmitri Young could be a Hen this weekend
Detroit Tigers manager Alan Trammell said yesterday it is “more than likely” Dmitri Young will make a rehab appearance with the Mud Hens, hopefully this weekend.
Young, who suffered a fractured right fibula in the second game of the season, has been taking batting practice and doing some light workouts. He has a doctor's appointment today and is expected to get clearance for full workouts.