The Mud Hens skipped the daily ritual of batting practice yesterday, saying the bigger need was for the batters-to-be to mentally visualize their hits.
Hey, it worked.
Toledo knocked out 10 hits last night against Syracuse for a 7-3 victory at Fifth Third Field.
"A day off doesn't help the swing, but it helps the head," Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "We've had a long home-
stand, we've hit every day, we've taken extra hitting. It's good to do something different."
Ryan Ludwick led the Hens with four RBIs, including a two-run home run to left field in the seventh inning. After falling behind 2-0 in the first, the Hens (33-33) came back in the fifth with five consecutive singles.
In front of 7,474, Mike Hessman started the inning with an infield single to third. Josh Phelps, David Espinosa and Brian Peterson all found holes in the outfield, driving in two runs. Kevin Hooper's bunt down the first-base line got him on base and scored Espinosa to give the Hens the lead.
With two outs Ryan Raburn walked to load the bases, and Ludwick drove in two more with a single to right-center.
Syracuse's Davis Romero, in his Triple-A debut, did not last the inning. Romero (0-1) had given up just one hit before the single barrage in the fifth.
The SkyChiefs (30-37) scored first on Kevin Barker's two-run homer, his 12th of the season.
The Hens' Jordan Tata allowed three hits in the inning but got out of it with three strikeouts.
Tata settled down and scattered 10 hits over eight innings for his third win of the year.
"I was basically trying to throw a whole lot more strikes tonight, trying to challenge the hitters," Tata said. "They got a lot of hits, but they were scattering them."
Tata (3-2, 3.96 ERA) gave up two doubles in the eighth, allowing the SkyChiefs to score another run. But he finished out the inning, helped by his desperation catch on a high popup to the mound that no infielder took charge of.
Because lefty starter Wil Ledezma was re-called to Detroit Wednesday night, his scheduled start tonight will be taken over by the bullpen. Tata's eight innings made sure the necessary relievers are fully rested.
NOTES: Right-hander Mark Woodyard will come out of the bullpen to make the start tonight in the final game of the homestand. He has started one other game this year. The umpires who will work the Triple-A All-Star Game in Toledo on July 12 were announced. They are: Dusty Dellinger (home plate) and Damien Beal (second base) from the International League, and Peter Durfee (first base) and Todd Tichenor (third base) from the Pacific Coast League. Outfielder Victor Mendez, placed on the disabled list Wednesday, was sent down to Class-A Lakeland.
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