No small ball, a staple of the Mud Hens' two previous wins over Ottawa, was necessary for Toledo to earn a 5-0 victory over the Lynx last night.
In fact, the long ball - a two-out, three-run homer by Mike Hessman in the opening inning - combined with a complete-game six-hit shutout by starter Chad Durbin to give the Hens their third win in as many games.
"What a great pitching performance by Durbin," said Ottawa manager Dave Trembley. "He threw all of his pitches for strikes, and we really didn't have a threat against him. He really had complete control of the game."
While the right-handed Durbin allowed baserunners in six of the first seven innings, he allowed just one runner to reach second base until the seventh.
In that frame Luis Terrero drew a walk, then took second on Val Majewski's single. Durbin struck out Brandon Marsters, but Hens third baseman Mike Hessman made a diving stop to keep Jason Bowers' single in the infield, loading the bases with two outs.
"He always makes great plays," Durbin said of Hessman's shutout-saving dive. "He's as consistent a guy [defensively] as I've played with my whole career."
Durbin kept his shutout alive by getting Eddy Garabito to fly out to end the seventh, then set down the Lynx in order in the final two innings. Durbin finished with a season-high 10 strikeouts and walked only two to improve to 5-3 on the year.
"[Catcher Brian] Peterson did a great job behind the plate," Durbin said. "We got ahead of a ton of guys, and the curveball was really good. We worked the ball away most of the night, and we came in when we had to."
Meanwhile the Mud Hens of-fense gave Durbin plenty of wiggle room by scoring four times in the first off Ottawa starter Brian Burres.
Kevin Hooper got things started by beating out an infield single, then moved to second on a single by Tike Redman before coming around to score on Ryan Raburn's single.
Burres seemed poised to end the threat when he got Ryan Ludwick to bounce into a double play. But Jack Hannahan worked Burres for a walk, and Hessman hammered a three-run homer off the scoreboard in left.
"That was a pretty good at-bat with two outs, and it obviously was the key blow," Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said of Hessman's 12th home run of the season. "Hessman has been swinging the bat a little better."
Durbin's nine-inning completegame shutout was his first ever. He said the four-run cushion helped make the shutout possible.
"Knowing they're behind, and knowing I'm going to throw strikes, they're not as aggressive," Durbin said. "If we're down four, it's a little different because they take different swings."
The Mud Hens should have had another home run in the third inning when Raburn curved a line drive around the left-field foul pole with a runner on, but second-base umpire Chris Hubler overruled third-base umpire Joe Judkowitz and ruled the ball was foul.
Parrish was thrown out of the game for arguing the call.
Toledo added a run in the sixth off Burres. Hannahan walked, then was running when Hessman beat out a high hopper down the third-base line and raced to third. David Espinosa then singled Hannahan home.
NOTES: Before last night's game the parent Tigers promoted RHP Humberto Sanchez from Double-A Erie to take the place of Tony Fiore, who was released Sunday. Sanchez will start for the Mud Hens today against Syracuse. Mud Hens LHP Wil Ledezma was named International League pitcher of the week for last week. Ledezma won twice, allowing just two runs on 12 hits in 15 innings while fanning 11.
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