NORFOLK, Va. - August is often referred to as the dog days of the baseball season. The Toledo Mud Hens didn't figure that dog would bite them so hard.
Following their 11-3 loss to the Norfolk Tides last night, the Mud Hens are 0-8 in August.
"But it's been a team effort," Toledo manager Larry Parrish said. "Our pitching has been suspect, we haven't played very good defense and we haven't hit a whole lot."
For the last six innings last night, the Mud Hens (59-58) didn't hit at all.
After giving up a three-run home run to Rich Gomez in the third inning, Tides pitcher Pat Strange retired the last 20 Hens who strolled to the plate.
Strange, who began the season in the bullpen but has started primarily since the second week of May, posted the Tides' first nine-inning complete game of the season. He allowed five hits, three of those in the third inning.
The Gomez home run tied the score at 3-3, but the Tides quickly retook the lead on a monster home run by Ozzie Timmons, who had joined the club in the afternoon.
Timmons, who has bounced around pro baseball since 1991, clobbered a Rick Kirsten pitch onto the concession stand roof beyond the left-field fence.
Kirsten had a rough first inning, giving up three runs as the Tides batted around.
But the shot by Timmons was the first truly hard-hit ball by Norfolk.
"Kirsten seemed to settle down in the second, then we score three in the third and think we're right back in it," Parrish said.
"The first batter of the third hits the ball on that roof and it's 'Here we go again.' "
After Timmons' homer, the Tides would score two more runs in the frame.
The game became a blowout in the fifth inning on a grand slam by Danny Garcia, who had just one homer for the Tides in 235 at-bats coming in.
Toledo's effort was not helped by its glovework, committing three errors. The Hens are 1-8 when they commit three or more errors in a game this season.
"It's tough for anybody to pitch through three errors," Parrish said.
"Usually that takes a strikeout pitcher to do that."
NOTE: The Hens will start RHP James Baldwin (7-4, 3.06) tonight while the Tides send RHP Jason Roach (1-4, 4.45) to the mound. Game time is 7:15 p.m.