All it took was four batters to spoil Thursday's game for the Mud Hens and pitcher Adam Wilk.
The first four Scranton/Wilkes-Barre hitters in the fourth inning all reached base and scored in the Yankees' 4-1 win at Fifth Third Field.
Two singles sandwiched around a throwing error, a walk and a three-run homer by Ronnier Mustelier gave Scranton/Wilkes-Barre its second win over Toledo.
"I don't think it was a lapse in concentration or a lapse in judgment on my part," Wilk said of the fourth inning, which caused him to lose his third straight start. "I'm making my pitches, and for a couple of batters [it didn't work].
"If a couple of things had fallen our way in that inning, I could have gotten three outs with no runs. But that's the game of baseball. It's unpredictable."
Wilk, who allowed just one base- runner in the first three innings, saw the fourth start on the wrong foot when Colin Curtis hit a slow roller wide of first base. By the time second baseman Justin Henry got to the ball and shoveled it to first, Curtis reached the base for an infield hit.
"He just happened to put the ball in the right place," Wilk said. "It was a tough call for [first baseman Ryan] Strieby to decide to get the ball or cover first.
"And Curtis is a left-handed hitter who is a fast runner. He just beat the play."
Curtis stole second and then advanced to third on a wild throw by Hens catcher Bryan Holaday. Steve Pearce then took advance of a 2-0 count by lining a single to left that scored Curtis.
The next batter, Jack Cust, hit a foul ball down the left-field line that Eric Patterson nearly caught after a long run. Cust eventually walked, and Mustelier slammed a 2-0 pitch off the base of the left-field scoreboard for a three-run homer.
"I need to work ahead in the count," Wilk admitted. "In every inning but that one I was getting ahead of most hitters 0-1 or 0-2.
"In that inning I happened to get behind and leave some pitches up, and they happened to hit them well."
Wilk pitched seven innings for the Hens, allowing just six hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.
"For me, he threw the ball well," Toledo manager Phil Nevin said. "He just had the one inning where he got off-kilter.
"To pitch through seven … I know Adam wasn't totally happy [with his performance], but I thought he did a lot of positive things out there."
That four-run deficit was too much for the Hens to overcome as Yankees starter Ramon Ortiz shut out Toledo for seven innings, allowing just two hits and a walk with eight whiffs.
"He was good," Nevin said. "He pounded the strike zone, and he worked quickly. There were some good plays behind him because he [worked quickly].
"This was just one of those night where you say, 'Hey, their guy pitched pretty well.' "
The Mud Hens scored their only run in the eighth on an RBI single by Quintin Berry. They stranded four runners in the last two frames to squander any chance at a comeback.
NOTES: IF Danny Worth joined the Mud Hens Thursday. He was optioned to Toledo by Detroit Wednesday when the Tigers called up RHP Brayan Villarreal. … The victory gives Ortiz wins with 20 organizations, including seven major league clubs, 12 minor-league clubs and one Japanese team.
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.
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