SYRACUSE, N.Y - The Toledo Mud Hens took two losses the hard way last night, losing 2-1 and 5-4 to the Syracuse SkyChiefs before 5,732 at P&C Stadium.
A walk off homer in the bottom of the 11th by Simon Pond off Matt Anderson gave Syracuse the opener. And in the nightcap, the Hens came unglued during a controversy-filled three-run out-burst by the Chiefs in the sixth.
Toledo, which suffered its first double-header sweep of the season, mustered just four hits in each game, and went long stretches without getting any offense at all.
It was an uncharacteristic showing from the team with the second-highest batting average in the entire International League.
"No, it wasn't a good [night]," said Toledo manager Larry Parrish. "We didn't swing the bats very well, either game."
Pond, one of three SkyChiefs who will play for Canada in the upcoming Olympics, daggered the Hens in the opener, slamming a 92-mph fastball from Anderson (0-5) over the fence in right center.
Until then, scoring chances for both teams were a precious commodity.
The Hens struck early in the opener, taking a 1-0 advantage after Nook Logan doubled to lead off the game. Joe Vitiello brought him home with a bouncer to second base.
That run stood up until the bottom of the sixth, thanks largely to some excellent work from Hens starter James Baldwin.
"He threw very well for a long time," said Parrish.
In the sixth however, he was touched for a run, following a leadoff double by Stubby Clapp. One out later, Clapp was singled in by Gabe Gross.
Meanwhile, the Hens could get nothing else done off Syracuse starter Sean Douglass.
Syracuse reliever Adam Peterson (1-0) pitched the final two innings and picked up the win.
Hens hitters met with more futility in the early innings of the nightcap.
Having been staked to a 2-0 lead, Syracuse starter Josue Matos (2-5) allowed just one runner through the first four frames, that being Logan who beat out a bunt.
Toledo managed to tie things up in the fifth, 2-2, with Logan doubling in both runs.
But in the sixth, Toledo starter Adrian Burnside (4-5) found himself in hot water after loading the bases with none out, then found himself in the clubhouse after being ejected following a disputed play at third.
With runners on first and second, Pond attempted a sacrifice, which was fielded by Andy Barkett at first.
Barkett threw to Greg Norton at third, who instead of stepping on the bag, tried to apply a tag on the sliding Glenn Williams.
"You'd think he would [go for the force]," said Williams, himself a third baseman, "but your instinct is to make the tag."
Williams was ruled safe, and Burnside, after a short but heated exchange with umpire Chris Hubler, was tossed out.
"It was a bad call," said Parrish. "From where I sat, the umpire just missed it. He said he didn't tag him."
Burnside was relieved by Chris Mears, who served up an RBI single to Chad Hermansen, giving Syracuse a 3-2 lead.
Tim Whittaker followed with a two-run double, making it 5-2.
The Hens drew within a run in the top of the seventh when Brant Ust blasted a two-run homer to dead center.