The Mud Hens' Jerad Head flies out in the driving rain to end the second inning. There were two rain delays Thursday night.
The Blade/Andy Morrison
The Mud Hens suffered a 7-4 loss to Lehigh Valley at Fifth Third Field Thursday night in a game that twice was delayed by rain.
Toledo lost its second straight game and third contest in the four-game series against the IronPigs in a game whose start was delayed 1:55 and which also had a 39-minute delay after the second inning. The Hens have lost nine of their last 10 games at Fifth Third Field.
The Detroit left-hander Drew Smyly made a rehab start for the Mud Hens, but when a hard rain delayed the game a second time his start with was finished.
"It's kind of a buzz-kill," Smyly said of the rain delays. "You're trying to get your work in, and they put the tarp on the field when you're trying to get warmed up.
"But that's part of the game. You can't do anything about it -- you just go out and throw."
Smyly allowed four hits and three runs, which all came on a three-run homer by Erik Kratz, in his two innings of work. Smyly struck out three and didn't walk anyone.
"Everything felt fine," Smyly said after his 35-pitch effort, which included 26 strikes. "I tried to knock some of the rust off and make sure my finger was good to go, and everything was fine."
Smyly suffered a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand in a start for the Tigers at Cincinnati June 10 and went on the disabled list. After starting once for Toledo in April -- he allowed three hits and three runs in 1 2/3 innings in that effort -- Smyly made 12 starts for Detroit, posting a 2-2 record and 3.96 ERA.
Smyly, who is eligible to come off the Tigers' disabled list June 26, said he felt no problems after the game.
"I thought my velocity was good and my command was good," he said. "I didn't really get behind anybody. It was just a high changeup and a fastball that a guy jumped on. He must have been sitting on it."
Smyly got a groundout to start the game, then struck out Lehigh Valley's Pete Orr -- only to see Orr reach first base on a throwing error by catcher Rob Brantly. Kevin Frandsen singled Orr to third, and Erik Kratz slammed a first-pitch fastball by Smyly off the black batter's eye in straight-away center for a three-run homer.
"I was down here working on certain pitches that [Detroit pitching coach] Jeff Jones wanted me to work on," Smyly said. "I left a changeup up to [Frandsen] and he hit it for a single, and then [Kratz] jumped on a first-pitch fastball."
The Hens got one run back in the third inning when Justin Henry singled, moved to third on a double by Argenis Diaz, and scored on a bases-loaded walk by Ben Guez.
Toledo then tied the game in the fourth when Ryan Strieby led off with a homer, his 12th of the year, and back-to-back-to-back singles by Cale Iorg, Diaz and Matt Young produced a run.
But Lehigh Valley took the lead for good with three fifth-inning runs off the Hens bullpen. Reliever Ryan Robowski gave up an infield single, and after Robowski struck out Orr he was replaced by Luke Putkonen. Putkonen gave up an RBI single to Frandsen that broke the tie, and one out later Jason Pridie hammered his first home run of the year.
The IronPigs scored a run in the ninth when Rob Waite gave up four straight singles to open the inning, with Orr's single scoring John Suomi.
Toledo scored once in the bottom of the ninth when Diaz singled home Henry. Henry finished the night with three singles in four at-bats, while Diaz had three singles and a double in four plate appearances.
B.J. Rosenberg, the second of five Lehigh Valley pitchers, improved to 2-0 with the victory while Jeremy Horst got the final two outs for his second save. Robowski fell to 0-2 with the hard-luck loss.
The Mud Hens begin a four-game series against Norfolk tonight at Fifth Third Field starting at 7 p.m. RHP Thad Weber (4-5) will start for Toledo against the Tides' Chris Tillman (6-8).
Smyly said he will rejoin the Tigers in Pittsburgh Friday night, and he will meet with the Detroit brain trust to determine the next step.
NOTES: The first rain delay held up the game's first pitch for 1:55, while the second rain delay (which came after the second inning) lasted 39 minutes. … The Mud Hens added RHP Luke Putkonen and C Bryan Holaday to the roster. Both were optioned to Toledo before the game when the Tigers added RHP Jacob Turner and C Alex Avila to the roster. … The Mud Hens sent C Zach Maggart to Lo-A West Michigan to make room for Holaday. … LHP Austin Wood announced his retirement Wednesday. Wood split time between the Hens, going 0-0 with a 5.68 ERA, and Double-A Erie, where he was 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA. … The Hens are expected to sign free agent 1B John Lindsey. Lindsey, who hit .341 with 21 home runs and 64 RBIs in 76 games for Laguna in the Mexican League, is expected to be activated for today's game against Norfolk.
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481, or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.