Pitching has kept the Mud Hens afloat in the playoffs. Now it's left them one game from elimination.
Rochester twice put up four-run innings to cruise to a 10-4 victory over Toledo in Game 3 of the Governors' Cup finals at Fifth Third Field last night.
The win gives the Red Wings a 2-1 series lead. Game 4 is here tonight at 7.
Rochester's 17 hits were the most the Hens have given up in their playoff history, and the Red Wings' 10 runs were tied for the most Toledo has given up in the postseason. It was the most hits in the playoffs for the Red Wings since 1982.
The Hens need to win two consecutive games to claim back-to-back IL titles, but the players believe a comeback is still possible.
"We had our backs against the wall during the playoff race too," Hens outfielder Ryan Raburn said. "We've played too long to just lie down."
Both starting pitchers were recent Triple-A call-ups with impressive performances in their first playoff appearances. But while Rochester's Glen Perkins showed consistency from his last outing, the Hens' Eulogio De La Cruz did not.
"[De La Cruz] wasn't as sharp as he was down in Charlotte," Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "His breaking ball wasn't good at all."
In front of a crowd of 6,760, Josh Phelps hit a two run homer in the Hens' first. In the third, the Wings' Jose Morales hit a solo home run to cut the Hens' lead to one.
Bloop hits for Rochester and bad defense by the Hens turned into a four-run Wings fourth.
First Garrett Jones led off the inning with a homer to right to tie the game at 2. Terry Tiffee then doubled to right, and Kevin West singled him over to third on a ball that dropped in front of right fielder Ryan Ludwick.
Tiffee scored on a groundout. The Hens had the chance to turn a double play, but second baseman Jack Hannahan bobbled the ball and shortstop Brent Dlugach's throw to first was wild.
The next batter, Alex Romero, hit a sharp grounder to third, and the ball glanced off normally stellar third baseman Mike Hessman's glove and rolled into left field, Romero turning it into a double.
With two outs, Andres Torres hit a check-swing single to left, scoring two runs. Parrish felt that play changed the momentum of the game.
"That was luck," Torres said. "Sometimes you hit it hard [and don't get a hit], so I'll take it."
More of the same happened in the sixth when Lance Davis replaced De La Cruz. Three consecutive hits for the Red Wings to start the inning gave them two more runs. John Ennis replaced Davis, but Rochester scored twice more.
Meanwhile, the free-swinging Hens struck out seven consecutive times in the middle innings and finished with 10 strikeouts.
Dlugach got his second RBI of the playoffs by doubling in Chris Maples in the eighth. Max St-Pierre had a pinch-hit single in the ninth and scored on a sacrifice fly by Dustan Mohr.
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