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Published: Tuesday, 4/10/2012 - Updated: 3 years ago

Bats pound Hens

Toledo right fielder Matt Young (6) makes a diving catch  against Louisville during the sixth inning. Toledo right fielder Matt Young (6) makes a diving catch against Louisville during the sixth inning.

All anyone could really do was watch — and marvel — as Denis Phipps launched Casey Crosby's 1-0 pitch over the netting above the left-center field fence.

The ball bounced off the pavement before it landed next to the SeaGate Centre and was eventually retrieved by a fan as a free souvenir.

But Crosby, the Mud Hens' starting pitcher, probably didn't bother to watch the third-inning blast.

Despite striking out six in his first start for Toledo, Crosby took the loss in a 9-3 setback to Louisville in the series opener Monday at Fifth Third Field.

"You have to look past this and look at the rest of the season," said Crosby, who allowed four earned runs and five hits before he was lifted in the top of the fifth for Luke Putkonen. "It's not a sprint, it's a marathon. My changeup was working, and my fastball was working, for the most part. My curveball was pretty good and I kind of had trouble at the end locating it. I was locating my pitches pretty well, but a few got away from me."

With a potential spot up for grabs in the Detroit Tigers' rotation after Doug Fister was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday because of a muscle sprain in his left side — and with Tigers manager Jim Leyland on hand to watch Monday's game — Crosby remained reserved on the topic.

"If they're not there or if they're there, it doesn't really matter," Crosby said. "I know they keep a close eye on us down here in Triple-A. Whether they're here in present, or watching video of us, it's the same no matter what."

Louisville's Daryl Jones (6) scores against Toledo catcher Omir Santos (36) during the fifth inning. Louisville's Daryl Jones (6) scores against Toledo catcher Omir Santos (36) during the fifth inning.

But while Crosby commanded the majority of his pitches, as 46 of his 77 pitches went for strikes, the Mud Hens committed three errors in the loss and were held to two hits until the ninth inning.

"We didn't make some plays behind him," Toledo manager Phil Nevin said. "Some days you just don't catch it like you normally do. Obviously, that didn't help him. Three errors to none on their side, it definitely helped, but we've got to get more than two hits before the eighth inning, too."

Crosby struck out three batters in the first but got tagged for two runs when Todd Frazier's double drove in Daryl Jones and Phipps.

Two innings later, Phipps' one-out, two-run homer gave the Bats a 4-0 lead, and the Mud Hens cut the lead to 4-1 against winning pitcher Andrew Brackman in the bottom of the fourth when a fielder's choice put Brad Eldred on base and scored Eric Patterson from third.

Louisville scored five runs in the fifth, seventh and eighth innings to take a 9-1 lead before Eldred's RBI double accounted for a two-run, two-hit ninth for the Mud Hens.

"I'm not going to put too much stock in the loss, especially with a kid making his first start of the season, especially his Triple-A start," Nevin said. "Crosby's got a heck of an arm and he really showed a lot of good things.

"He didn't get the results we wanted, but all in all, he threw strikes, had good movement on his fastball and he had a good breaking ball at times."

NOTES: Leyland was back in Toledo, five days after the Tigers' 8-3 exhibition win over the Mud Hens. Monday was a day off for the Tigers, and they'll open a three-game series Tuesday against Tampa at Comerica Park. … Eldred extended his hitting streak to four games. Eldred entered the game 4 for 13 and finished 1 for 4 with three RBIs. … Announced attendance was 3,787.

Contact Rachel Lenzi at: rlenzi@theblade.com, 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @RLenziBlade

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