Durham shortstop B.J. Upton avoids sliding Mud Hen Guillermo Rodriguez and completes a double play.
The gods of baseball wasted no time evening things out for the Toledo Mud Hens.
After giving up five runs in the eighth inning to lose at Syracuse Sunday, the Hens scored five in the eighth last night to beat Durham 6-5 in front of 8,034 fans at Fifth Third Field.
"We lost one Sunday when the other team scored five runs with a home run, but things balanced out tonight - in the very next game we played," said Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish.
The key blow in that late rally was a three-run homer by Andy Barkett. But Parrish was quick to point out that the Hens' five-run rally was the result of more than just a home run.
"That whole inning was textbook," Parrish said. "Nook [Logan] got on to lead off, [Eric] Owens laid down a perfect bunt for a hit, and [Warren] Morris hit a line drive for an RBI.
"As it went on, I was thinking, 'This is a great night to hit, and we haven't hit anything up in the air.' I told [Morris], 'This would be a great time to get one up in the air' and bam! There it was."
Logan started the rally by driving a 3-2 pitch from reliever Franklin Nunez into the left-field corner for a double before moving to third on Owens' bunt single down the third-base line. Morris then lined an RBI single to score Logan and send Owens to second.
The next batter, Joe Vitiello hit a slow roller to shortstop. Owens got in front of shortstop B.J. Upton, then
jumped over the ball. Upton allowed the ball to scoot under his glove for an error that scored Owens and sent Morris to third.
"Being an infielder coming up, I knew having people in my way like that really bothered me because you lose sight of [the ball]," Owens said. "The only out they were going to get was to get me at third, and we still would have the tying run at the plate."
Barkett then greeted the next reliever, Matt Carnes, by slamming a 1-1 pitch well over the fence in right-center for his 18th home run of the season.
"With the man on third, I was just trying to get that run in," Barkett said. "We were getting [runs] one at a time at that point, but thank goodness it went out."
The Hens fell behind quickly when the Bulls scored twice in the opening inning off James Baldwin, who celebrated his 33rd birthday yesterday, when Midre Cummings blasted a two-run homer to deep right-center.
Durham added a run in the fourth when Jonny Gomes blooped a single into shallow right that scored Cummings from second. But Toledo got that run back in the bottom of the inning when Barkett drew a two-out walk from Bulls starter Chad Gaudin, and Chad Alexander drove him home with a double off the wall in right-center.
Gomes hammered his 19th home run of the year for a two-out run in the sixth, and a questionable balk call on Toledo reliever Danny Patterson in the eighth resulted in Durham's final run.
"This team has never died all year," Barkett said of his team's late rally. "We've come back a lot, and we always play nine innings. We don't quit. Sometimes we come back and win, and sometimes we don't. But we're always going to give nine innings."
The two teams will meet again tonight for the second game in this four-game set. The Hens will start right-hander Pat Ahearne (7-7), while the Bulls will counter with right-hander Jim Magrane (5-2).
NOTES: Before the game the Tigers recalled pitcher Nate Cornejo from his rehab assignment and sent Patterson to the Hens on a rehab assignment. Patterson threw one inning for Toledo and will throw two more tomorrow before being recalled to Detroit. Pitcher Chris Mears also was demoted to Double-A Erie, leaving the Mud Hens one man short of a full 24-man roster. ... Shortstop Danny Klassen missed his second straight game after being hit on the right wrist in Syracuse July 10. Parrish said Klassen may return soon.
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