Hens catcher Chris Shelton loses the ball after a collision with Durham's Jonny Gomes.
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Everything that went well for the Mud Hens on opening day seemed to go wrong last night in a 6-3 loss to Durham at Fifth Third Field.
On offense the Hens, who came into the contest batting .311 as a team, managed just five hits - three of which came in a three-run fifth.
Starting pitcher John Ennis allowed a pair of runs in the second and his replacement, Mark Woodyard, coughed up four runs in the third.
And on defense Toledo made a pair of errors, one of which resulted in a run.
That all added up to the end of the Hens' five-game winning streak.
"This is the first game where we haven't swung the bats well," said Hens manager Larry Parrish. "We had some close pitches that weren't called strikes, and we had some balls that had to be caught - that weren't.
"It's tough when you get down six runs early; it makes it tough on the offense."
After a 1-2-3 opening inning, Ennis struggled in the second. Ennis seemed to have Jonny Gomes struck out, but a 2-2 pitch was called a ball and Gomes hit the next pitch into the left-center gap for a double.
Ennis then walked Steve Cox on four pitches and fell behind former Hen Eric Munson 3-0 before Munson lined out. Then Pete LaForest hit a broken-bat bloop single to right; Alexis Gomez threw home to try to cut down Gomes, but Gomes was safe at the plate following a jarring collision with Toledo catcher Chris Shelton.
Luis Ordaz followed with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Cox.
That 32-pitch inning pushed Ennis past his pitch limit and brought Woodyard into the game. Woodyard got into instant trouble when B.J. Upton singled off his glove, then moved to third when Damon Hollins doubled into the left-field corner. Gomes brought both runners home with an opposite-field homer to right, his fourth home run of the season.
That wasn't the end of Woodyard's troubles, even though he retired the next batter. Munson singled up the middle, then LaForest hit what seemed to be a double-play grounder to second baseman Ryan Raburn. But Rayburn's throw to second for the forceout bounced off Gookie Dawkins' glove into left field, allowing Munson to race to third.
He came home on another sacrifice fly by Ordaz that made the score 6-0 Durham.
Reliever Chris Spurling was the star of the game for the Hens, working 32/3 innings of one-hit, shutout baseball with four strikeouts.
"Wow. What a job," Parrish said of Spurling's effort. "I thought [position player Kevin] Hooper was going to have to pitch."
But Toledo wasn't able to take advantage of Spurling's effort. The Mud Hens were limited to two hits by Bulls starter Jason Roach until the fifth, when they scored all three of their runs.
Gomez led off with a single, then was running when Raburn's high bouncer eluded Munson at third base and rolled into left. Gomez beat the throw to third, and Raburn moved to second on that throw.
Jack Hannahan's single to right scored Gomez and sent Raburn to third; one out later Dewayne Wise singled through the same spot to score Raburn and push Hannahan to third.
Shelton was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Sandy Martinez drew a walk to force home the third run, but Mike Hessman struck out to end the threat.
Game 3 of this four-game series starts at 2 p.m. today, with Toledo's Jason Grilli facing Durham's Brian Sweeney.
NOTES: The game was played before a crowd of 9,280, the second straight sellout and the 78th sellout in the history of Fifth Third Field. Pitcher Lee Rodney was promoted from Double-A Erie to replace Andrew Good, whose contract was purchased by the parent Tigers Friday. Rodney has made three relief appearances with no decisions, one save and a 0.00 ERA. Wise left the game in the bottom of the eighth with a foot injury. His status is day-to-day.
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