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Published: Tuesday, 7/31/2012

Mud Hens win thriller in 11th

Toledo's victory featured numerous late lead changes

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The Mud Hens snapped a five-game losing streak with an amazing 10-9 win over Louisville in 11 innings at Fifth Third Field on Monday.

There were more twists and turns than an adventure novel as each team took turns scoring runs in the late innings. But Toledo got the game-winner with two outs in the bottom of the 11th when, with runners on first and third, Argenis Diaz doubled to the wall in left-center to score Jerad Head and Brad Davis with the winning runs.

That crazy finish wrapped up a contest that saw four different relievers blow saves as the teams scored runs in seven consecutive half-innings.

The Bats appeared to get the game-winning marker in the top of the 11th off Toledo reliever Luis Marte. Marte got the first two outs in that inning before Felix Perez hit a double off the top of the fence in right, just beyond the reach of the Hens' Andy Dirks. Then Dioner Navarro blooped a single to left that allowed Perez to score.

The crazy extra-inning affair began with the two teams posting big second-inning rallies. Louisville scored twice in the top of the inning thanks to a triple by Mike Costanzo and a sacrifice fly, then a double by Perez and a two-out single by Willie Harris.

But Toledo scored three times in the bottom of the inning as John Lindsey led off with a homer, his eighth this season, and Diaz stroked a two-run double into the right-field corner.

The Mud Hens extended their lead to 5-2 with a pair of runs in the fourth. Danny Dorn singled, took second on a walk to Matt Young, and Bryan Holaday's single loaded the bases before Justin Henry laced a two-run, two-out single to right.

But Louisville managed to tie the game with three runs in the sixth. Hens starter Brooks Brown gave up two singles and an RBI double and was replaced by Matt Hoffman, who allowed run-scoring singles by Corky Miller and Denis Phipps to tie the game.

The Bats took the lead in the seventh when Henry Rodriguez hammered a home run to left off Toledo's Andy Oliver, but Jerad Head responded with a long home run in the eighth, Head's seventh of the year.

Things started getting crazy in the ninth when Cody Puckett pounded a two-out homer off the top of the scoreboard in left. The homer was Puckett's eighth this season and third in as many days — and marked the third consecutive game where he homered in the ninth inning after collecting a grand slam in the ninth on Saturday and a two-run shot Sunday.

But the Mud Hens managed to scratch out a run in the bottom of the ninth off Bats reliever Jordan Smith. With one out Lindsey walked and was replaced by pinch-runner Cale Iorg, who moved to second on a single by Dorn.

Both baserunners moved up a base on a wild pitch, and Dorn came home on a hard grounder to shortstop by Head. Louisville's Didi Gregorius made a fine diving stop to keep the ball from going to the outfield and allowing two runs to score.

The Bats scored a run in the 10th when Miller singled and pinch-runner Chad Reineke moved to third when Phipps' grounder to third base went under the glove of Henry for an error that allowed Phipps to take second. After an intentional walk to Gregorius, Rodriguez lifted a sacrifice fly to right that scored Reineke with an unearned run.

But the Hens got an unearned run in the bottom of the 10th to keep the game going. Diaz led off and reached base on a ball that went under the glove of the Bats' Costanzo for an error. Henry sacrificed Diaz to second, and Diaz moved to third on a single by Danny Worth before scooting home on a groundout by Dirks.

NOTE: Monday's crowd of 10,700 was the Mud Hens' 20th sellout this season and seventh consecutive full house. It also marked the largest Monday crowd in Fifth Third Field's 11-year history.

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com, 419-724-6481, or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.



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