A bizarre play at home plate allowed the Mud Hens to escape with a 2-1 victory over Durham in the second game of a doubleheader at Fifth Third Field Sunday night.
That victory snapped Toledo’s six-game losing streak, which had been extended by a 7-4 loss to the Bulls in the first game of the twinbill. The start of Sunday’s games were delayed exactly two hours by rain.
The game-saving play in the seventh came when the Bulls’ Leslie Anderson lifted a fly to center with two outs and pinch-runner Ray Olmedo at first base. Clete Thomas ran a long way in from center to make the catch -- but the ball glanced off his glove for an error.
With Olmedo sprinting around the bases, rightfielder Ben Guez picked up the ball and threw to the plate, where catcher Max St-Pierre caught the ball and tagged out Olmedo to end the game.
The fine defensive play by Guez ended a low-scoring game in which the two teams combined for just five hits in seven innings.
Durham scored its only run in the second off Hens starter Brayan Villareal. Dan Johnson led off with a single, then moved to second on a single by Russ Canzler. Johnson took third on a fielder’s choice groundout by Jose Lobaton, then scored when Toledo’s Will Rhymes misplayed a potential double-play groundout by Anderson for an error.
That was the only run the Bulls managed off Villareal, who struck out four and allowed just those two hits in four innings. Ryan Perry retired all six batters he faced to get the win, and Oliveros survived the seventh to claim his second save.
Meanwhile the Toledo offense tied the game in the fourth when Cale Iorg tripled to dead center -- the first hit of the game off Durham starter Jay Buente -- and scored on a sacrifice fly by Timo Perez.
The Hens’ game-winning run came in the fifth when Guez drew a one-out walk, raced to third on a single by Thomas, and scored on a single by Bryan Pounds.
In the first game the Bulls batted around in the first inning and scored four times to take the lead for good. With two outs and no one on, Durham’s Brandon Guyer beat out a grounder down the third-base line for a single, then moved to second when Hens starter Duane Below walked Johnson. Canzler doubled down the left-field line to score Guyer and send Johnson to third, and Lobaton capped the rally with a three-run home run, his fifth this season.
The Mud Hens got back into the game with three runs in the bottom of the second off Bulls starter Edgar Gonzalez.
Guez lined a three-run home run into the scoreboard in left, the second home run for Guez in 17 games with Toledo.
Durham got a run in the third when Canzler drew a one-out walk, moved to second on a single by Lobaton, and scored on a broken-bat bloop single to left by Anderson.
Toledo’s other run came in the fifth when Deik Scram walked, moved to second on a groundout by Argenis Diaz, took third when Jeff Kunkel singled into the hole at shortstop, and came home on a sacrifice fly by Rhymes.
The Bulls got insurance runs in the sixth and seventh. The run in the sixth scored on a two-out RBI single by Desmond Jennings, while Anderson added a two-out run-scoring hit in the seventh.
Below, a native of Britton, Mich., allowed season highs in both hits (10) and runs (six) to fall to 4-3 this year.
After the game, which ended at roughly 11:30 p.m., the Mud Hens made a six-hour bus trip to Rochester to begin a four-game series with the Red Wings. First pitch for Monday night’s game is set for 5 p.m.