LOUISVILLE - The Toledo Mud Hens go into the Triple-A all-star break with the best record in the International League. If a few defensive plays had gone their way yesterday, it could have been a little bit better.
The Mud Hens lost 4-3 to the host Louisville Bats in another back-and-forth affair. The two teams have split their 12 meetings this season, with eight of those contests being decided by one run, including the last three in a row.
"It's two good ball clubs battling it out," Toledo interim manager Mike Rojas said. "When we score, they score, and when they score, we score. It's been like that all year, some tough ball games."
Like many of the previous games, this one came down to a couple of key moments.
Toledo held a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning with two outs and a man on first. Louisville's No. 9 hitter, Ryan Jorgensen, tied the score with a double to right field against Anastacio Martinez (2-5).
Anderson Machado then lined a 2-0 pitch for a single to left field, and Jorgensen was waved home. Left fielder Chris Maples' throw to the plate was on the money, but catcher Andrew Graham dropped the ball as he went to tag Jorgensen.
The Bats, on the other hand, came up with a defensive gem in the eighth to preserve their lead. With two on and two outs, Henry Mateo smoked a line drive toward left field. But Louisville shortstop Paul Janish made a highlight-worthy catch diving to his right.
The Mud Hens could also look back to a costly mistake in the first inning. Machado was on third with two outs when Aaron Herr hit a routine grounder that shortstop Kevin Hooper dropped. Machado scored for a 1-0 Bats lead.
Toledo starter Dennis Tankersley allowed only one earned run in five innings in his first outing since going on the disabled list June 18 with a sore right shoulder. He gave up three hits.
"I liked what he did," Rojas said. "He pitched down and got us through five innings. The ball was coming out of his hand pretty good, and he didn't have any pain or problems."
The Mud Hens runs came on a solo home run by Jack Hannahan, an RBI double by IL hits leader Timo Perez, and an RBI single by Chris Shelton.
Justin Medlock (1-0) picked up the win in relief, and Gary Majewski worked around a leadoff walk in the ninth for the save.
Toledo finished the unofficial first half of the season at 52-39, three games ahead of Indianapolis in the IL West Division.
"Everything has been going great so far," Rojas said. "We just need to get our rest over the break, come back, and continue to play the game of baseball the way we are and go from there."