The problems the Mud Hens suffered on their just-completed road trip weren't anything a good five-run inning couldn't cure.
Toledo sent 10 batters to the plate in the fifth inning last night, scoring five times on seven hits in an 8-3 victory over Pawtucket at Fifth Third Field.
The win was a nice tonic after a 3-5 road trip which saw the pitchers allow 55 runs while the offense scuffled.
"We didn't play real well early, but that fifth inning erased everything," said Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish. "We strung a bunch of hits together and [Dewayne] Wise went deep."
The Mud Hens had struggled against Pawtucket starter Tim Kester in the first four innings, scratching out two runs - one of which was unearned - while striking out eight times.
But with one out in the fifth Kevin Hooper beat out a slow roller to second base, and suddenly the flood gates opened. Singles by Curtis Granderson, Alexis Gomez and Carlos Pena plated two runs that broke a 2-2 tie.
Mike Hessman's sacrifice fly scored Gomez with the third
run, and Wise hammered his fourth home run of the season off the buildings behind the right-field fence.
"That was a big inning," Wise said. "We were anxious to come home, and we had had a tough road trip. We got beat up pretty bad. But we wanted to come home and get off to a good start with a big inning."
The Hens were 6-for-11 with runners in scoring position, including a 2-for-5 mark with two outs.
"We've been struggling a little bit as a team," Wise said of the offense. "But we never got down on ourselves. We just kept battling, and in this game we were able to put together some big at-bats in key situations."
Jason Smith's double in the seventh scored Wise for the team's eighth run, and that was more than enough support for Toledo starter Kenny Baugh. The right-hander gave up just four hits and two unearned runs in six innings to improve his record to 5-4.
Pawtucket scored a second-inning run thanks in large part to a pair of Toledo errors. With one out Luis Figueroa singled, but appeared to be out while stealing second. Figueroa was safe when Hooper dropped the throw to second by Sandy Martinez.
On the next pitch Tim Hummel hit a routine grounder to third, but Smith's throw to first was wild, allowing Figueroa to score.
Both Smith and Hooper made amends for their second-inning errors by combining for a run in the third. Smith led off by doubling down the right-field line, and one out later Hooper lined a shot past the drawn-in outfielders in center and right for a run-scoring triple.
The Hens took the lead with a fourth-inning run courtesy of a Pawtucket error. Hessman ran out an infield hit with one out, and with two outs Kester threw wildly trying to pick him off, allowing the Hens' third baseman to reach third.
Hessman scored on a single to center by Martinez.
Toledo's third error of the night led to Pawtucket's game-tying run in the fifth. Mike Lockwood led off with a single, then took second on an errant pickoff throw by Baugh. Lockwood took third on a bloop single by George Lombard, then came home on a fielder's choice groundout by Dave Berg.
"Any time something like that happens, you want to pick your guys up," Baugh said of the errors. "That's part of the game. A lot of times an error happens, then the same guy will make a big play for you to pick you up.
"You have to tune [errors] out, bear down and get the next guy."
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