JETTA FRASER Enlarge
It was a mixed-up night when the Mud Hens and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre played a doubleheader at Fifth Third Field yesterday.
The "strikeout player of the game" became the "get-on-base player of the game." The scoreboards tried to start rallies for the Yankees, then for the Mud Hens. And each team's players were serenaded by walk-up music, although the Yankees came to the plate to such non-exciting sounds as "Achy Breaky Heart" and the theme from "Barney."
So it was fitting that the two teams played a pair of crazy games in which the visiting team won both - yet the two teams split the twinbill.
Toledo was the visiting team in the first game because it was a make-up contest from a game postponed in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in mid-June, and it won that game by an 8-7 score in nine innings.
The Yankees, the visiting team in the regularly scheduled second game, won that contest, 4-2.
The first game was a see-saw affair that saw the two teams combine for 28 hits, including 10 for extra bases, not to mention nine walks and three hit batsmen, three of which came with the bases loaded to score runs.
The "visiting" Mud Hens got on the board in the opening inning when Scott Sizemore nearly hit his picture on the left-field scoreboard to collect his third home run with Toledo.
The Yankees got two runs in the bottom of the first on back-to-back two-out RBI doubles by Shelley Duncan and Juan Miranda, but the Hens tied the game in the second when Wilkin Ramirez scored on a fielder's choice groundout by Will Rhymes.
Toledo took the lead with a pair of runs in the third, one scoring when Brent Dlugach was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and the other coming home on a groundout by Ramirez.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre got one run back when Duncan homered to lead off the third, but the Hens expanded the lead with two runs in the fifth on bases-loaded two-out walks earned by Rhymes and Brent Clevlen.
The Yankees wiped out that lead with a three-run fifth that included an RBI double by Francisco Cervelli and a game-tying RBI single by Yurendell deCaster.
Duncan then gave the Yankees the lead when he launched his second home run of the game with one out in the sixth.
Toledo tied the game in the top of the seventh off Yankee reliever Jonathan Albaladejo when Jeff Larish led off with a double, moved to third on a single by Ramirez and scored when Jeff Frazier hit into a double play.
And the Hens scratched out the winning run in the ninth when Larish again doubled, moved to third on a one-out groundout by Frazier, and scored on a wild pitch by Yankees reliever Edwar Ramirez.
The second contest also was a little bit off-kilter in that the better pitcher in the early innings eventually suffered the loss, while the starter who struggled early collected the win.
The Hens peppered Yankee starter Jason Johnson - the former Tiger - for four hits and three walks in the first three innings. But Toledo never took advantage of those early opportunities, going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position in that span.
Meanwhile Toledo starter Josh Rainwater retired the first nine Yankees he faced before Brent Dlugach made a two-base throwing error on a Kevin Russo grounder to open the fourth. A sacrifice moved Russo to third, and a sacrifice fly by Austin Jackson brought him in.
Rainwater seemed to tire in the fifth, surrendering three hits, including a two-run double by Justin Leone.
Toledo came back with two runs in the fifth off Johnson. With two outs, Yankees left fielder Eric Duncan dropped Mike Hessman's fly for an error, and Ramirez pounded his team-leading 12th home run of the season.
NOTES: The Mud Hens wore black jerseys with pink trim and auctioned off the jerseys to raise money for Northwest Ohio Komen for the Cure breast cancer awareness. The Yankees' strength and conditioning coach is Lee Tressel, a nephew of Ohio State football coaches Jim and Dick Tressel. Last night's crowd of 10,700 was a sellout, the Mud Hens' 16th this season and the 227th in the eight-year history of Fifth Third Field. It also was the second-largest home crowd this season, trailing only the Fifth Third Field record crowd of 13,100 on Opening Day.
Contact John Wagner