Toledo's Argenis Diaz (11) throws to first to record the out on Louisville Bats player Neftali Soto (19) to end the first inning, as the Bats' Danny Dorn (27) slides into second base.
While Mud Hens fans have enjoyed having Brandon Inge playing for the team the past three days, there is one person who will be especially sad to see him leave.
"Brandon bought Outback Steakhouse for the postgame spread [in the clubhouse] Wednesday, bought PizzaPapalis pizza after batting practice [Thursday], and then bought P.F. Chang's postgame [Thursday]," Toledo clubhouse manager Joe Sarkisian said.
"I'm going to miss him."
So will the Mud Hens, who went 3-0 in Inge's three-game rehab assignment here thanks to an 8-1 victory over Louisville at Fifth Third Field Thursday.
Inge played second base for the second straight day and was tested a number of times. He made three putouts and also had five assists, several of the spectacular variety.
The toughest was a diving stop on a hard grounder by Dioner Navarro in the eighth where Inge threw out the catcher while seated in the outfield grass and a nice running catch of a popup down the rightfield line off the bat of Navarro in the fifth.
"I had a couple of plays running both ways," Inge said. "Once I covered those, there really wasn't anything else [to test]. I had a couple plays backward, and I'm happy where I am right now."
Inge was hitless in three at-bats Thursday to finish 1-for-9 (.111) in his three-day trial with the Hens, but drew a pair of walks to give him a .417 on-base percentage (5-for-12) during the stint.
"The timing will come back," said Inge, who plans to rejoin the Tigers in Chicago on Friday. "I'm not worried about the results right now. When you're going through a rehab, getting timing, seeing the pitches, and drawing walks is important.
"I really didn't get many good pitches to hit. They weren't throwing me much -- which was kind of funny."
Mud Hens player Brad Eldred (44) is greeted at the plate by teammates Ryan Strieby (34) and Matt Young (13) after hitting a two-run homer off of Louisville Bats pitcher Sean Gallagher during the second inning.
The key for Inge wasn't his hitting or defense.
It was proving that the groin injury that forced him onto the Tigers' disabled list at the end of spring training now is healed.
"Really that's the only thing we were looking at," said Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin. "He was moving around well, and he's a great athlete.
"He was tested on some diving plays, and he looks as if he's ready to go."
As for game itself, the Mud Hens broke things open with a five-run second inning that was highlighted by a two-run homer by Brad Eldred and a run-scoring double by Quintin Berry.
"That was the story the last two nights, getting that big inning early," Nevin said.
"The big boys in the middle are swinging it good, and that helps."
Toledo added some insurance with a three-run fifth that included a two-run triple by Matt Young. That was more than enough for spot starter Brooks Brown and relievers Ramon Garcia and Austin Wood. The trio combined to limit Louisville to three hits and one run, with Garcia earning the victory with four shutout innings of one-hit ball.
"We knew what Brown's [pitch-count] number was at, and we wanted three innings -- and we got that," Nevin said.
"Then [Garcia] came in and did a great job, so we have a fresh bullpen going to Indianapolis."
All that was left was for the Mud Hens to return to the clubhouse and enjoy their latest feast courtesy of Inge.
"That's part of the job," Inge said. "When you come down for a rehab assignment, you have to take care of the boys who are down here."
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