A few days ago, the four-run deficit the Mud Hens faced after the first inning of last night's game against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre would have been insurmountable.
Last night, though, Toledo had overcome that deficit by the fifth inning and cruised to a 9-5 victory over the Red Barons at Fifth Third Field.
"A couple days ago, no, we couldn't have scored four runs," manager Larry Parrish said. "But when we closed the gap to 4-2, we felt we were back in the ballgame.
"Going out there and holding them - not giving them any more - was the key. And we just kept on pecking away."
The Red Barons' four-run first inning featured five hits off Toledo starter Zach Miner, including an RBI single by Carlos Ruiz and a two-run double by Shawn Garrett.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre had plenty of chances to score in the other three innings Miner pitched, putting runners in scoring position in each frame. But the right-hander wiggled out of every tough spot, including a bases-loaded jam in the fourth. Then winner Tony Fiore held the Red Barons in check with three scoreless innings. Corey Hamman, pitching on his 26th birthday, allowed Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's final run on a home run by Ruiz with two outs in the ninth but retired the other six batters he faced.
"Zach did a good job holding them in after the rough first, but the bullpen did a super job," Parrish said. "We gave up a run late, but that's not one you worry about."
Fiore allowed two hits in his three innings to bounce back from a rough outing Sunday, when he allowed three runs in less than one inning.
"I was looking forward to going back out there the minute I came out of the game [Sunday]," Fiore said. "I don't want to have a 10 ERA.
I get embarrassed when I see things like that.
"I was having trouble throwing strikes [Sunday], so I wanted to make sure I got ahead of some guys [tonight]."
Meanwhile, the Mud Hens started their comeback with a pair of runs in the second inning thanks to a run-scoring triple by Don Kelly and an RBI groundout by Ryan Raburn.
"When we came into the dugout [after the first inning], we just said, let's chip away. We don't need to get all those runs back right now,'" said Kevin Hooper, who had three of Toledo's 10 hits. "When you put a couple of runs on the board, you're right back within striking range.
"In a 4-2 ballgame you're a bloop and a blast away from tying the game. We strung together some good at-bats in key situations all through the game."
Toledo loaded the bases in the third inning but managed only one run, that coming on a sacrifice fly from Jack Hannahan.
But in the fifth the Mud Hens scored three times to take the lead for good. Back-to-back one-out singles by Hooper and Alexis Gomez knocked Lee out of the box, and Ryan Ludwick drew a walk from reliever Ben Shaffar. Hannahan's second sacrifice fly brought Redman home with the tying run, and on the play Roberson threw to third to try and retire Hooper, allowing Ludwick to take second.
That proved crucial when the next batter, Phelps, hit a soft liner to center. Roberson originally broke back, then wasn't able to catch the ball as Hooper and Ludwick both scored.
Toledo added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly by Gomez. Hooper drove in the final run in the eighth on an infield single by Hooper.
NOTES: Pitcher Lee Gardner is expected to come off the disabled list today. Gardner began the season on the disabled list because of back problems. The Mud Hens will need to make a move to open a roster spot for Gardner. Starting pitcher Lance Davis was placed on the temporary inactive list yesterday. He left the team to be with his family because of the death of his brother. Davis is expected to return in time for his scheduled start Saturday in Durham.
Contact John Wagner at:
or 419-724-6481.35.89881 -78.94904