Indianapolis catcher Carlos Maldonado tags out the Mud Hens' Freddy Guzman, who stole four bases last night.
The new aggressive offense of the Mud Hens came up short in a 2-1 loss to Indianapolis at Fifth Third Field last night.
Toledo put nine men on base against starter Tom Gorzelanny and the
Indians' bullpen, more than enough to score more than once. But several
assertive baserunning moves backfired, and a 1-for-12 effort with runners in scoring position sealed the Hens' sixth loss in the last nine games.
"We got some guys in scoring
position," Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "But we had a couple of times where we had runners on third and we couldn't get them in."
One of those times came in the bottom of the first, when Freddy Guzman reached on an error and quickly stole second before Clete Thomas popped out. Guzman stole third and, with the infield in close, was thrown out at the plate on Brent Clevlen's slow roller to second.
"I told [Guzman] to read the ball," Parrish said. "If it was hit hard I wanted him to stay, and if it was hit soft I wanted him to go.
"It was hit off the end of the bat, but it was hit right to [Josh Wilson]. If [Wilson] had to take one step to the right or left, it would have worked."
Wilson admitted that he didn't think he would be able to throw Guzman out.
"[Guzman] is really fast, so I knew my release would have to be quick," Wilson said.
"[Indians catcher Carlos] Maldonado did a real nice job with the tag to keep that run from scoring.
"It wasn't a textbook play, but I'm fortunate things worked out to our advantage."
Guzman's speed gave the Hens a run in the sixth. With one out he singled, then stole his way to third on Gorzelanny's first two pitches to Thomas. Guzman, who finished with four stolen bases on the night and is tied for the International League lead with 39, trotted home when Thomas doubled into the left-center gap.
But when Clevlen hit a grounder to third, Thomas was thrown out trying to advance in what Parrish called a questionable baserunning decision.
"It was just the wrong time to go," Parrish said. "The third baseman caught the ball moving toward [Thomas] and pushed him back towards third.
"The old saying is, you don't make the third out at third base."
The Hens had chances in both the eighth and ninth, getting two runners on base in both innings. But Toledo hitters struck out in four of their last five at-bats with runners in scoring position.
The only reason the game remained close was because Indianapolis was struggling to mount any offense against Toledo's Yorman Bazardo. The Indians' first run came in the fifth, when Wilson launched his fifth home run of the season just over the fence in left-center.
The Tribe's winning run came in the seventh, when Bazardo gave up a double off the right-field wall to Wilson with two outs, and Wilson scored on a single by Luis Cruz.
"[Bazardo] had two outs, and instead of getting the ball away from the batter he overcranked and instead threw it up-and-in," Parrish said of Wilson's double.
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MIAMI - A deal that would send Manny Ramirez to Florida may be a long shot, but Marlins president David Samson didn't rule it out yesterday, less than 24 hours before the trade deadline.
On his weekly radio show, Samson addressed reports the Marlins are discussing a trade to acquire Ramirez from the Boston Red Sox.
"The Marlins always seem to be in the middle of everything," Samson said on WAXY-AM. "It takes two to tango. We're looking everywhere. We're making calls. We're getting calls. But we're not going to be stupid."
Asked specifically if a deal for Ramirez was possible, Samson said, "I've always told you everything is possible. There are all sorts of crazy things. There's no way to say which trades are going to happen."
Ramirez makes nearly as much as the Marlins' entire roster - he's in the final guaranteed year of his eight-year, $160 million contract. The Red Sox have options for each of the next two seasons at $20 million.
The Marlins' payroll of $22 million is by far the smallest in the majors. They've been one of the most surprising teams in the majors and went into yesterday's play only two games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets, and 1 1/2 games behind second-place Philadelphia.
Ramirez's often turbulent relationship with the Red Sox took a new twist Sunday when he said, "I'm tired of them. They're tired of me."
But there's a good chance the Red Sox will keep him. And Samson said the Marlins may stand pat with confidence they have "as good a chance to win the division as the Mets and Phillies."