DURHAM, N.C. - After watching his International League West-leading team struggle again in a 9-3 loss to the Durham Bulls last night, Toledo manager Larry Parrish was looking forward to putting the Mud Hens' four-game set with Durham behind him.
"I don't take anything good [from the series]," said Parrish, whose first-place team dropped three of four to the sub-.500 Bulls. "We're ready to go someplace else and try a different town and a different park."
Durham went deep four times off the International League's leading home run-hitting team last night. Joel Guzman had two of those homers while going 3-for-4 and driving in three runs, and Chris Richard aided the cause with a three-run home run of his own.
The bulk of the Bulls' damage was done off of Toledo starter Virgil Vasquez (2-4), who has struggled this year after going 12-5 in 25 starts with the Mud Hens last season. Vasquez lasted just three innings, allowing five earned runs and six hits, including three of the home runs.
"He's having trouble getting the ball down," Parrish said. "Every pitch they hit tonight was up about belt-high."
Durham jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the strength of second-inning solo homers from Guzman and Jeremy Owens. Toledo cut the lead to 3-2 in the top of the third, but the Bulls got the runs right back.
Vasquez hit Josh Labandeira with a pitch to start the bottom half of the third, and he later walked Dan Johnson to put men on first and second with one out. That brought Richard to the plate, and he promptly deposited the first pitch he saw from Vasquez over the right-field fence for a 6-2 Durham lead.
Meanwhile, Bulls starter Mitch Talbot moved to 3-0 in his last four starts and 4-3 overall on the season.
He struck out four and allowed three earned runs in six innings pitched. Juan Salas, in Durham on a major league rehab assignment, gave up just one hit while shutting out Toledo in the 7th and the 8th innings.
"The rehab guy, Salas, pretty much overmatched us," Parrish said.
The first two Mud Hens of the game reached base, but Toledo couldn't get either of the runners home. They also advanced runners to second and third with two outs in the 3rd inning, but Clete Thomas struck out to end the threat.
"We had a lot of chances early in the game tonight and couldn't come up with the big hit," Parrish said.
The Mud Hens will return home Monday, but not before wrapping up their current 10-game road trip with games today and tomorrow in Columbus. Rehabbing major leaguer Dontrelle Willis is scheduled to start tonight for Toledo against the Clippers.