Scott Sizemore dived headfirst into first base.
Justin Henry plowed through Columbus catcher Luke Carlin at home plate.
And when the dust had settled, both runners were safe — and the Mud Hens had claimed a 4-3 victory over the Clippers in 12 innings at Fifth Third Field yesterday.
The game-winning run came with two outs and runners on first and second, as Sizemore hit a slow roller up the middle off Columbus reliever Carlton Smith.
“He got a good pitch in on me,” Sizemore admitted. “Luckily I found an open spot up the middle.
Sizemore slid safely into first — and Henry, the runner on second, was steaming around third and headed for home.
“I was running to score as if the ball was going through [the infield],” Henry said. “I turned and saw it was going to be a close play at the plate.
“[Carlin] was blocking the plate, so [going through him] was the only way I could get to it. I thought, between a short-hop [throw] and me colliding with him, he may not catch it.”
Henry touched home plate as Carlin dropped the ball, giving the Mud Hens their fourth win in five games against Columbus.
The Hens staved off elimination from the playoff race for another day. Their “tragic” number for elimination from the wild card race is three.
The Mud Hens scored three times in the second inning off Columbus starter Yohan Pino thanks to an RBI double by Robinzon Diaz and a two-run single by Shawn Roof.
The Clippers got a run back in the third when Ezequiel Carrera tripled to the wall in right-center and came home on a wild pitch by Toledo starter L.J. Gagnier. They edged closer with a run in the fourth on a home run by Wes Hodges, and they tied the game in the fifth when Jeff Frazier dropped a fly ball in left to allow an unearned run to come home.
The Hens retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Diaz tripled — one of his three hits in the game — and Henry hit a sacrifice fly. But Columbus retied the game in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Carlin.
That merely set the stage for Toledo's extra-inning heroics, which brought a smile to Manager Larry Parrish's face afterward.
“It was a grind-it-out win,” he said.
“We were trying anything to score a run, and in the 12th it worked.”
NOTES: SS Danny Worth is out for this season. Worth has a stress fracture in his heel and has returned to his California home. … SS Brent Dlugach also is done because of an oblique strain.
Contact John Wagner at:firstname.lastname@example.org 419-724-6481.
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