When a team isn't hitting, it puts pressure on the defense and pitching to be perfect.
The Mud Hens managed just one hit in 10 innings last night, but were nearly perfect on defense and with their pitching. The problem was "nearly perfect" wasn't good enough in a 1-0 loss in 10 innings to Ottawa at Fifth Third Field.
The game's lone run was unearned because Jason Bowers led off the 10th with a slow roller down the first-base line; first baseman Don Kelly threw the ball over the head of pitcher Lee Gardner covering first for an error that allowed Bowers to reach second.
Eddy Garabito sacrificed Bowers to third, and Howie Clark slapped a single up the middle through a drawn-in infield to score Bowers and saddle the Hens with their third loss in the last four games.
"That's a tough way to lose one," Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "[Bowers] tops one out there, and he winds up at second base. When they bunt him over to third, you've got to play the infield in.
"And then [Clark] punches the ball in the spot where he needed to hit it. But we had that situation earlier - had we done the same thing, we could have won it in nine."
The Hens' best chance - actually, their only chance - came in the eighth, when Kelly drew a leadoff walk from Ottawa reliever Winston Abreu. David Espinosa sacrificed Kelly to second, and Kelly quickly stole third.
But Abreu got Max St-Pierre to ground out, holding Kelly at third, then struck out Kevin Hooper.
In the game's other nine innings the Mud Hens managed just two baserunners, neither of which advanced past first in getting shut out for the eighth time this season.
"I think we're swinging defensively instead of offensively," Parrish said.
"When we're looking for a tough pitch, we can't handle a pitch we normally handle."
The lack of offense wasted a fine start by Toledo's Colby Lewis, who allowed just five hits in eight shutout innings.
He faced trouble in the first, when the Lynx put two runners one with only one out in that inning, but got a pair of outs to end the threat.
"Early on I was throwing my breaking ball, my slider, for strikes, and that's what you're looking for," Lewis said. "I tried to mix in the change-up late to keep them off-balance."
The problem was Ottawa starter Tim Kester was even more impressive, allowing just one hit in seven shutout frames.
"Both pitchers had tremendous command, located on both sides of the plate, kept their breaking balls over for strikes, [and] pitched ahead in the count," Lynx manager Dave Trembley said.
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