Mud Hens unable to come back against Buffalo

Buffalo s Jason Stanford gave up a hit to the Hens  first batter, Kevin Hooper, then no more in his seven innings.
Buffalo s Jason Stanford gave up a hit to the Hens first batter, Kevin Hooper, then no more in his seven innings.

For the second straight day the Mud Hens had an opportunity to stage a comeback victory.

But coming from behind isn t always easy, something the Hens learned in a 4-0 loss to Buffalo at Fifth Third Field yesterday.

On Tuesday Toledo found itself behind by two runs before coming to bat, but found a way to claw its way back into the contest and eventually claim the win. Yesterday s morning game saw the Hens again fall behind early, but Bisons starter Jason Stanford made sure there would be no comeback by allowing just one hit in seven shutout innings.

[Days like this] are going to happen, Mud Hens interim manager Mike Rojas said. We just couldn t put anything together. It just wasn t our day.

[Stanford] did a great job. He came after us, and we couldn t get anything going. Everything he did was right.

Toledo starter Dennis Tankersley struggled from the start, giving up a one-out double to Luis Rivas and a single to Ben Francisco that moved Rivas to third. Keith Ginter doubled into the right-field corner to score both runners.

I just didn t have a feel for any of my pitches, Tankersley admitted. The only pitch where I had some idea where it was going was my slider.

If you don t have command of your fastball, you d better have at least two of your other pitches working. I never got comfortable with my change-up or other breaking ball.

Tankersley allowed runners to move into scoring position in both the second and third but escaped damage until the fifth. In that inning Buffalo used an error and two singles to load the bases with none out, and Ginter lofted a sacrifice fly to center.

I thought I might Houdini my way out of that and go through five, Tankersley said. But the longer I was out there without being able to make any kind of adjustments, well, eventually they were able to get to me.

Corey Hamman came on and struck out Joe Inglett and Hector Luna to end that threat, then pitched a scoreless sixth. The Bisons scored their final run in the ninth when Franklin Gutierrez homered off Tim Byrdak.

But that offense was more than enough for Stanford, who dominated the Mud Hens in his seven innings.

The closest the Hens came to scoring was in the first, when Kevin Hooper beat out a slow roller to shortstop for a single, stole second, then moved to third on a one-out groundout by Timo Perez. Hooper was stranded when Stanford struck out Brent Clevlen.

The Mud Hens only other threat came in the ninth. Bisons reliever Mike Koplove allowed singles to Perez and Clevlen before closing out the win.

The only other Toledo baserunners came on two Stanford walks and a pair of Buffalo errors. None of those runners advanced past first.

There are days when you ve got to tip your cap to the other guy, Hooper said. [Stanford] did a great job of mixing it up, and he kept us off-balance all day.

Not only did he work in and out, he worked up and down well. When you can do that and throw four pitches for strikes, you re going to be pretty successful. He did that.

Contact John Wagner at: or 419-724-6481.