Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Mud Hens

Hens cap long day with convincing win


Scranton's Cole Garner scores while catcher Bryan Holaday gets the ball late during game at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio.

The Blade/Lori King
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The Mud Hens' day Tuesday began with a 6 a.m. wake-up call, a flight from Atlanta to Detroit, and then a trip directly to the ballpark.

But the Hens made sure their long day had a happy ending by posting an 8-2 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Fifth Third Field.

"It was a long day for everyone, but that's the nature of the business," said Toledo starting pitcher Thad Weber. "I thought we did a good job [of getting ready]."

PHOTOS: Mud Hens vs. Scranton

It was a sloppy contest that saw each team make three errors. But the difference was that Yankee pitchers combined to give up 12 walks, including seven in 3⅔ innings by starter Dellin Betances, to help fuel a Mud Hens offense that also pounded out 12 hits.

"It's nice when you go into a game with a game plan, and then you execute it," Toledo manager Phil Nevin said. "We knew we had to be patient. [Betances] has great stuff, but we had to be patient and make him throw strikes."

The Mud Hens fell behind early because of two errors that produced an unearned run in the second inning. Both Audy Ciriaco and Brent Dlugach made errors on different plays that could have ended the inning, forcing Weber to throw 34 pitches to escape a bases-loaded jam without further damage.

"The defense [behind me this season] has been phenomenal -- sometimes you just run into innings like that," Weber said. "I threw more pitches than I would have liked, but I was happy I kept it at one [run].

"Those are the types of innings that can get rolling and get out of control."

Weber limited Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to just two runs on five hits and one walk in six solid innings, striking out six to improve to 3-1.

"Guys are going to make errors, that happens," Nevin said. "To me, Thad has shown a lot more maturity [in that situation].

"He has learned how to pitch, and I think he gets better and better each time he goes out. For me, between the ears is where he has made his biggest strides."

The Toledo offense took back the lead in the third inning when Justin Henry singled, Ryan Strieby walked, and Brad Eldred lifted a towering home run off the scoreboard in left, his International League-leading 16th of the season.

The Hens then took advantage of two more walks by Betances in the fifth to score twice more on a two-run single by Quintin Berry.

"We've got to be one of the best teams in the league in terms of taking walks," Henry said of Toledo, which leads the IL with 175 walks. "We have a lot of guys who are getting on base well.

"And when you get on base for the middle of our lineup, you know we're going to get some runs for sure. We did a good job of cashing in the chances they gave us."

Toledo then broke the game open with a crazy seventh inning. Matt Yound got things rolling with a one-out triple, then came home on a suicide squeeze bunt by Dlugach that rolled off the glove of Yankees reliever Juan Cedeno to put Dlugach on first.

Bryan Holaday then singled Dlugach to second, and Dlugach stole third before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Berry. The throw home to try and cut down Dlugach was wild, and that error pushed Holaday to second.

Holaday stole third, and an errant throw to try and cut him down allowed Holaday to trot home with the game's final run.

"You can't push the envelope when you're behind," Nevin said. "When you're down two or three runs it's harder to push the envelope like we can do with our speed.

"When you get up by a couple of runs, you can force some things -- and force the other team into mistakes."

NOTES: Today the Mud Hens will play the first of their three School Celebration Day games. First pitch is at 10:30 a.m. … The Mud Hens stole four bases last night and now have 53 steals this season. Toledo is tied with Gwinnett for the IL lead in that category. … Argenis Diaz is not with the team after his wife gave birth to the couple's first child late Monday night. Diaz is expected to return to the team on Thursday.

Contact John Wagner at:, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.

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