COLUMBUS The Mud Hens scored one run in each of the first two innings last night at Cooper Stadium against one of the teams chasing them for the International League West lead. But they also left a combined five runners on during that time, including the bases loaded in the second.
It was a trend that would continue.
Toledo, which left the bases loaded in the seventh as well, stranded 14 runners overall on the way to a 5-3 loss.
It also marked the second consecutive night in which the Mud Hens failed to get good starting pitching, as Chris Lambert gave up all five runs on 10 hits and three walks over 51/3 innings to slip to 7-5.
After winning five of his first six decisions, Lambert has given up four or more runs in four of his last eight starts.
We had chances to blow the game open a number of times, manager Larry Parrish said. That s the story of the game. I never like to give the pitchers that much credit. I always feel like we failed on our opportunities.
Toledo remains in first by one game over the Columbus and Louisville.
Both the Clippers and Mud Hens had chances early to grab the momentum.
Freddy Guzman led off the game with a single and stole second. Clippers starter Shairon Martis walked Timo Perez and Jeff Larish to load the bases and allowed a sacrifice fly to Brent Clevlen but struck Fernando Seguignol to end any further damage.
Ramon Santiago reached on a one-out walk in the second and scored on a single by Perez, but Martis got Larish to pop out with the bases loaded for the third out.
The Clippers, who left four runners on base over the first three innings, tied it in the fifth when Ofilio Castro singled, Jorge Padilla walked and both scored on a double by Ed Rogers.
In the bottom of the sixth, Larry Broadway doubled, David Wallace and Ray Olmedo singled and Castro doubled to knock in two more runs. Lambert then was relieved by Clay Rapada, and he allowed an RBI single to Padilla.
Lambert s just had trouble stopping innings once they get going, Parrish said. He s rolling along and if he gets a couple men on, he can t stop it. We didn t play good defense in the outfield. We had some balls in the outfield that could have been caught.
In the seventh after Mike Hessman led off with a single and Larish popped out, Clevlen doubled. Seguignol reached on a catcher s interference call to load the bases. Erick Almonte grounded out to reliever Jim Ed Warden, who threw home to retire Hessman, but Santiago was hit by a pitch to score Clevlen. Warden then got Max St-Pierre to ground out to end any further damage.
The Mud Hens bright spot was the bullpen of Rapada and Francis Beltran, who gave up a combined one hit in 22/3.
Zech Zinicola earned his first win for the Clippers and Brian Sanches picked up his 10th save.
NOTES: Aquilino Lopez was the expected starter for tonight s game but was recalled yesterday by the Tigers. Anastacio Martinez, who was promoted from Double-A Erie yesterday, is expected to take his place against Marco Estrada (2-1, 3.50). Zach Miner rejoined the team as well after a stint with the Tigers. ... On Monday, Preston Larrison exercised an out-clause in his contract and was given his unconditional release. He had been with the Tigers organization since 2001 and with the Hens since 2003.
The Toledo Mud Hens will send three players to the 21st annual Triple-A All-Star game on July 16 in Louisville.
Third baseman Hessman, outfielder Clevlen, and closer Blaine Neal will all play for the International League team against the Pacific Coast League.
Hessman and Clevlen are in the starting lineup.
Hessman, Clevlen and Neal were among 28 IL players selected by the fans, media, managers and general managers, and the league office.
Hessman, playing in his second straight All-Star game, is tied for first in the league in home runs (26) and runs scored (67), and became the fastest player to hit 20 homers in 30 years with his 20th coming on May 28.
Clevlen, a first-time all-star, had an IL best 44 game on-base streak from April 20 through June 21 in which he batted .358 (57-159) with 11 doubles, 3 triples, 12 home runs and 49 RBIs with 31 runs scored. He has also spent a portion of this year with the Tigers.
Neal leads the league in saves (22) and has struck out 32 in his 282/3 innings. This will be Neal s first Triple-A All-Star game.
The game is scheduled for ESPN2 with a 7 p.m. start.