It took a little bit of a spark, but the Mud Hens found a way to snap their recent home losing streak.
Bryan Pounds and Bryan Holaday provided a spark on offense, while Thad Weber and Chris Bootcheck provided a spark on the mound. The result was worthy of fireworks, as Toledo snapped a seven-game home losing streak with a 4-2 victory over Columbus at Fifth Third Field Tuesday.
"It was an all-around good game," Hens manager Phil Nevin said. "It started with Weber, who was really good, especially with his fastball location.
"And it was good to see us string some hits together to score some runs in the sixth.
"The way we have been playing, you look for energy. With guys like Pounds, diving for foul balls and stuff, that goes a long way. We've lacked that kind of energy."
Pounds made several strong defensive plays at third base and nearly added a highlight-reel catch with his dive into foul territory for a bunt in the ninth. He and Holaday also had three hits, and both played key roles in the Hens' two scoring rallies.
"I came up here, and I guess the change of scenery -- and working with [hitting coach] Bull [Durham] the past few days -- helped," said Pounds, who hit just .208 in 54 games with Double-A Erie before his promotion to Toledo. "I felt a little more relaxed and tweaked a few things, and that's what happened."
Toledo jumped in front in the second inning when, with two outs, Rob Brantly and Pounds singleed and Holaday doubled to the base of the wall in left-center to score both runners.
"There was a jolt in the dugout [when we scored]," Weber said. "When we got those two early runs, it was like, 'Here we go.'
"It was good for the offense, and it was good for me because it allowed me to be aggressive, get quick outs and get us back into the dugout."
Weber was in command most of the night, allowing just six hits and one walk in seven strong innings. His lone mistake was a solo home run by the Clippers' Matt LaPorta on the first pitch of the fourth, and after Vinny Rottino followed with a single Weber retired the next nine batter he faced, six on ground balls.
"My fastball command was good, and my cutter was very good -- maybe the best I've had all year," Weber said. "I threw it a lot more than I normally would, but that was fine because it was good and they were aggressive early.
"I got a lot of ground balls and quick outs, and I just let the defense worked."
In the sixth the Hens upped their lead to 4-1 when Brantly, Pounds, Holaday and Argenis Diaz had four straight singles to produce one run, and Justin Henry's groundout scored another.
Those runs proved valuable when Columbus scored a run in the eighth. Collin Balester walked the first two batter he faced, and a stole base-wild throw put runners on first and third with none out. Balester got LaPorta to fly out, and after a 32-minute rain delay Rottino hit a sacrifice fly to score a run.
Matt Hoffman walked pinch-hitter Russ Canzler to put the game-tying run on first base, but Bootcheck struck out Jared Goedert on three pitches to end the threat.
Bootcheck then retired the Clippers without incident in the ninth to record his 15th save of the season.
The Mud Hens and Columbus will play game three of their four-game series on the Fourth of July starting at 7 p.m.
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.