The Mud Hens came into Monday night's game wanting a win. Starting pitcher Ruddy Lugo needed one.
The Hens got the victory they wanted, beating Syracuse 4-2 at Fifth Third Field. The win came thanks in large part to Lugo, who held the Chiefs in check to claim his first win in a month.
Before last night, Lugo had lost three straight starts, allowing 23 hits and a whopping 19 earned runs in just 102/3 innings. His last victory came June 21 at Rochester.
"You have to forget about that and focus on your next start," Lugo said. "Every day is a new day in baseball."
The right-hander allowed just five hits in 62/3 innings, holding the Chiefs scoreless until the seventh - by which point the Hens already led by four runs.
"My breaking ball was really good," Lugo said. "[Catcher] Dane [Sardinha] and I really leaned on that pitch. And when I had runners on base, I knew I had to make a good pitch."
The only inning in which Lugo retired the Chiefs in order was the second, yet the 29-year-old never allowed a runner past second until tiring in the seventh.
Lugo held Syracuse hitless in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position - with four strikeouts - until Jorge Padilla lined a two-out, two-run double in the seventh to end Lugo's shutout bid.
"[Lugo] did a nice job mixing it up, and his breaking ball seemed to be pretty effective," Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "In the last inning he seemed to be leaking a little oil, and I was one pitch away from going out to get him [after giving up a single to Pete Orr and a walk to Ian Desmond].
"Then he struck out the next guy [Justin Maxwell], and he struck out the next guy [Jhonatan Solano]."
Parrish eventually called on Matt Rusch, who coaxed Corey Patterson to ground out and end the seventh. Rusch retired the only batter he faced in the eighth, and Clay Rapada and Josh Rainwater finished off the Chiefs, with Rainwater claiming his third save.
"The bullpen did a great job," Parrish said. "Rusch came on and got a big out, and Rapada and Rainwater pitched well."
The Toledo offense wasn't great, but it found a way to scratch out enough runs to give the team its third straight home victory.
The Mud Hens used an unconventional two-out rally to bring home a pair of runs in the second off Syracuse starter Ross Detwiler.
Jeff Larish got the rally rolling with a walk, and he moved to second on a single by Jeff Frazier. With Ryan Roberson at the plate, Chiefs' catcher Solano appeared to pick Larish off second.
But Solano's throw skipped under the glove of second baseman Seth Bynum into center, and Larish raced to the plate, scoring just under the tag of Solano.
Roberson walked and Sardinha singled to load the bases in front of Wilkin Ramirez, who worked
Detwiler for a nine-pitch walk to bring home the second run.
Toledo added a run in the fourth when Frazier drew a one-out walk and Roberson clubbed a double to the wall in right-center. Then
Frazier capped the scoring in the sixth by lining a 3-1 pitch from Syracuse reliever Dave Williams well over the fence in left-center for his third home run with the Hens.
"I was sitting fastball, and he happened to give me one I could drive," Frazier said. "We've been trying to bear down in key situations, and in this game we came through."
NOTES: RHP Zach Simons was promoted from Double-A Erie to take the roster spot of RHP Ryan Perry, who was called up Saturday to Detroit. Bowling Green State University football coach Dave Clawson threw out the first pitch.