Danny Dorn celebrated his 28th birthday in Toledo on Friday — which came as a total surprise to him.
"If someone had told me that [would happen] before the season began, I wouldn't have believed it," Dorn admitted.
Yet Dorn was in the Mud Hens lineup for Saturday's doubleheader, which saw Toledo beat Indianapolis 3-1 behind Thad Weber in the first game before suffering a seven-run second-inning meltdown to lose the nightcap 9-3.
Dorn probably expected to spend his birthday with Louisville, the team with which he began this season.
But the parent club in Cincinnati released him at the end of June after he had hit .230 with seven homers and 24 RBIs in 69 games.
"That was difficult, because the Reds were the club that drafted me in 2006," Dorn said. "I made a lot of friends there, so I was disappointed.
"When you get released, it kind of knocks you back a little bit."
But Dorn overcame the shock of his release, thanks in part to a phone call from Detroit a week ago.
"This was one of the teams I thought about playing for," Dorn said. "I love playing in the ballpark here, the crowds are electric — they are a loud as you'll hear anywhere — and the playing surface is one of the best playing surfaces in the league."
While Dorn isn't a total stranger to the Hens, having played numerous games against Toledo while in Louisville, he still said he felt some pressure to prove he belonged.
That's one of the reasons his grand slam at Buffalo on July 19 was a big hit for him.
"You want to play well to make a good first impression with all of your new teammates," Dorn admitted. "Hitting a grand slam was great, but we didn't win the game so that was a bit of a let-down.
"I'm just trying to do what I can: take good at-bats, drive in runs, play good defense."
Dorn went 0-for-2 but scored a run after he was hit by a pitch in the first game Saturday. In the nightcap he had an RBI single in three at-bats.
In the first game, Weber allowed just one baserunner in the first four innings, and that runner reached base on an error. In the fifth he gave up a single on a slow roller by Matt Hague, but promptly got Jeff Clement to hit into a double play to erase the runner.
Problem is, the Mud Hens didn't take advantage of their opportunities to score against Indianapolis starter Rudy Owens.
John Lindsey led off the second with a double, then moved to third on a wild pitch, but three straight groundouts stranded Lindsey there.
Matt Young opened the third with a walk, took second when Owens balked, and raced to third on a groundout. But Young was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Justin Henry's grounder to first.
Toledo finally broke through with a run in the fifth inning. Dorn was hit by a pitch with one out, then raced to third on Bryan Holaday's double.
Then with two outs Audy Ciriaco ground a single through the hole at shortstop to score Dorn.
But the Hens' advantage didn't last long. With two outs in the top of the sixth Anderson Hernandez doubled, and Chase d'Arnaud hit a line drive to left-center that Jerad Head nearly snagged with a diving stab. But the ball squirted away from Head for a double that scored Hernandez and tied the game.
Toledo quickly regained the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Argenis Diaz doubled down the left-field line, then came home when Ben Guez tripled to the base of the wall in right.
After Lindsey walked, Jerad Head poked a line drive to right that plated Guez with an insurance run.
Weber closed out the win, although things got hairy in the seventh when, after back-to-back strikeouts, Indianapolis got a double by Yamiaco Navarro and a single from Tony Sanchez to put the tying run on base.
But Weber got the game-ending flyout for his first complete-game of the season.
He improved to 6-8 this season by allowing five hits and no walks while fanning seven.
In the second game, things unraveled for Toledo starter Rob Waite in the second inning.
With two outs and a runner on first, Waite got Brandon Boggs to hit a grounder to second, but Diaz mishandled the ball for an error.
That mistake seemed to open the gates for the Indians, who saw the next six batters reach base thanks to five hits, several of which came on shaky plays by the Toledo defense, as well as a walk.
The big hits for Indianapolis in that rally were a two-run double by Brian Friday and a bases-loaded three-run double by Hague.
Toledo got a run back in the second thanks to doubles by Head and Ciriaco, and a bases-loaded single by Dorn in the third plated a run as well.
In the fifth Toledo got another run when Guez drew a one-out walk, raced third on a double by Lindsey, and scored on a single by Head.
But the Mud Hens stranded eight runners, and the Indians put the game out of reach with two runs in the seventh thanks to a two-run single by Hague, who finished with five RBIs in the game.
NOTES: Toledo turned four double plays in the second game and six in the twin bill. … Saturday night's crowd of 11,500 was the Mud Hens 15th sellout this season and the 312th sellout in ballpark history.
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