NORFOLK, Va. - The Mud Hens finally made it into town early yesterday morning, but they probably wish they hadn't.
Toledo lost both games of a doubleheader to the Norfolk Tides, blowing a three-run lead in the first game and a two-run lead in the nightcap at Harbor Park.
Eric Valent's run-scoring, one-out single off the right-field wall in the eighth inning gave Norfolk a 6-5 victory in the first game.
The most damaging blow in the second game was a three-run, inside-the-park home run by Norfolk's Anderson Hernandez in the fifth inning.
The shot, over the head of center fielder Alexis Gomez, erased a 2-0 lead as the Tides rallied for a 7-2 victory.
In the first game, the Mud Hens led 4-1 going into the bottom of the sixth inning, and handed matters over to Steve Green to finish off what Mark Johnson had started. Johnson had cruised through five innings allowing five hits. But having pitched out of the bullpen earlier this season for Double-A Erie, he wasn't ready to go far in only his second Triple-A start of the season.
The Mud Hens' big blows to build the 4-1 lead had been a two-run homer by Jason Smith in the fourth inning and a leadoff triple by Marcus Thames in the sixth that led to a run.
But Green walked Hernandez to leadoff the Tides' sixth, then gave up a single to left by Victor Diaz. Reliever Mark Woodyard came on to face Brian Daubach, just as a strong wind from the west kicked up.
Norfolk had been under a heat advisory throughout the day and game-time temperature was 99 degrees with a 117-degree heat index. The blustery winds, which hugged the edge of a thunderstorm,
lifted Daubach's drive to left field up and over the wall for a 390-foot home run that tied the game at 4-4.
"That wind was blowing pretty good," Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "It certainly didn't hurt Daubach any."
The Tides (58-48) didn't stop there. Mike DiFelice doubled and was replaced by pinch-runner Prentice Redman, who eventually scored on a two-out single to center by Rodney Nye for a 5-4 Norfolk advantage.
This meeting between the leaders in the International League's South and West divisions wasn't over as Toledo (64-40) scored in the seventh to tie matters. Brandon Harper led off with a single to left, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kevin Hooper, then scored on Ryan Raburn's single to right.
Extra innings were not in order after the Hens' travel woes of the previous day. Toledo's traveling party was delayed, then dissected by poor weather in the Midwest as half the team flew to Norfolk on one plane and the other half on another. It was 2:30 in the morning before the team arrived at its hotel. And by last night, approximately 10 players were still without their luggage.
But extra innings they got.
Daubach led off the Tides' half of the eighth with a double off the wall in right and was replaced by Chris Basak on the bases. After Joe Hietpas bunted Basak over, Eric Valent put an end to matters and made a loser of Rob Henkel, who had come on to start the eighth.
NOTE: Toledo is scheduled to start right-handed pitcher Andrew Good (5-3, 4.19) tonight while the Tides will start right-hander Jason Scobie (12-4, 3.40).
Detroit sent outfielder Curtis Granderson back to Triple-A Toledo yesterday when the Tigers activated second baseman Placido Polanco from the disabled list.
Granderson batted .318 with two home runs and two RBIs in six games with Detroit.
Polanco is hitting .324 in 27 games since being acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in June.