For the second consecutive game the Mud Hens lost a tight ball game in the late innings.
On Tuesday night Toledo suffered a 3-1 loss to Charlotte at Fifth Third Field by giving up the game-winning runs in the top of the eighth. The Hens must shoulder much of the blame for this loss, making a pair of costly errors to fuel the Knights' winning rally.
PHOTOS: Mud Hens vs. Charlotte, June 6
And while the late-inning loss bothered Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin, his team's recent offensive ineptness bothers him more.
"Some guys get long with their swing, and [catcher's interference] happens," Nevin said in discussing Charlotte's eighth inning. "And the double play doesn't really matter because we only scored one run.
"The bottom line is you're not going to win by scoring only one run. We need to find a way to score more than one or two runs, and rely on more than one or two guys in the lineup.
"One run just isn't going to cut it."
Charlotte eighth-inning rally began with a single by Tyler Kuhn. Brent Morel then beat out a bunt that moved Kuhn to second, and the bases were loaded when Toledo catcher Zach Maggard was called for cacher's interference on Dan Johnson.
Hector Gimenez hit a sacrifice fly that scored Kuhn and pushed Morel to third. Hens reliever Luke Putkonen then walked the bases loaded again and was replaced by Collin Balester, who got Ray Olmedo to hit a tailor-made double-play grounder to Ryan Raburn at second base.
But Raburn fumbled the grounder for an error that scored Morel.
Toledo's eighth-inning meltdown ruined a solid spot start by Brooks Brown, who held the Knights to one run on three hits and four walks in six innings.
"Brooks had some troubles, but he made pitches when he needed to," Nevin said. "He took a pretty good shot to the leg [on a ground-ball out in the second], and he battled through that to give us six innings.
"For a guy who isn't on a high pitch count, that's a good outing."
Brown, making just his sixth start for the Hens, covered a season-high six innings and had five strikeouts. Charlotte was just 1-for-8 when batting against Brown with a runner in scoring position.
"When I start a game like this, I'm just trying to cover as many innings as I can to save the bullpen," Brown said. "I got into some early trouble — and that's not what you want to do, especially throwing a lot of pitches.
"But I was able to get out of trouble and get the six innings, which helped our bullpen."
Toledo scored its only run in the fourth when Brad Eldred drew a two-out walk and raced around the bases on a double by Ben Guez. But the Hens stranded eight baserunners to lose their third in a row; they have posted just five runs and 20 hits in those three contests.
"I don't think it's a mental issue," Nevin said. "These guys can hit. We're just not hitting."
Brown agreed, adding, "On paper we've got a good offense here. Early in the year they were scoring a lot of runs, but they're in a funk right now.
"For the pitchers, our job stays the same. We have to go out and keep putting up zeroes, because we know they will start scoring runs and we'll start winning some games."
NOTES: Raburn left the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. Nevin said Raburn felt tightness behind his knee and would know more about his availability today. … Eldred doubled in the eighth inning to extend his current hit streak to 11 games, longest in the International League.
Contact John Wagner at: email@example.com, 419-724-6481, or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.