The Mud Hens conjured up more mojo on Monday night as Toledo posted the biggest comeback of the season and extended their winning streak to six games.
Toledo trailed 5-0 in the third inning but rallied to take a 7-5 victory over Durham before a crowd of 7,484 at Fifth Third Field.
Left fielder Jerad Head hit a home run and drove in three runs, while catcher Brad Davis doubled in two go-ahead runs.
Davis doubled down the left-field line in the eighth to give Toledo a late, two-run lead.
“It was huge,” Davis said. “I was glad I was able to find a hole. We’re playing good baseball right now and we’re putting runs on the board.”
Toledo swept a four-game series at home for the first time this year and have now won a season-high five straight at the ballpark. The six wins overall also equals a season high.
Head crushed a two-run home run in the third inning to pull Toledo within three runs.
“Everyone is feeding off each other,” Head said. “We’ve been playing really well the last six games. We want to finish the season strong.”
Don Kelly and John Lindsey came up with back-to-back, two-out RBI singles in the fifth inning to make it 5-4.
Head went 2-for-2 and tied it at 5 with an RBI single in the seventh inning.
“You have a feeling you are going to put some things together,” Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said. “We are putting together quality at bats throughout the line up.”
Toledo pitcher Collin Balester gave up one hit and no runs over 1⅓ innings to earn the win in relief. He struck out the final batter to end it. Fellow reliever Matt Hoffman allowed just one hit and struck out two in 2⅔ scoreless innings.
The winning streak was nearly halted after an error by shortstop Audy Ciriaco led to four unearned runs in the third.
The one bad inning also nearly cost Toledo left-handed starter Adam Wilk, who made his 21st start of the season and came in with the seventh-best earned run average in the International League at 3.24.
Wilk allowed just one earned run and struck out four on 93 pitches over five innings. His teammates prevented Wilk from suffering his 12th loss of the season.
Wilk made a mistake in the third when Nevin Ashley led off with a home run.
Wilk should have been out of the inning with a low pitch count on a double play. Ciriaco left the base at second before he received the throw from second baseman Cale Iorg on a potential double play. Both runners were safe and Durham scored four unearned runs to take a 5-0 lead.
Toledo responded with Head’s two-run home run to left field to make it 5-2 in the third. Kelly drove in Iorg and Lindsey plated Head to make it 5-4 in the fifth.
“Jared’s two-run home run was a spark right after they dropped five on us,” Nevin said. “That gave us the momentum back and we kept it the next five innings.”
Durham starter Alex Colome made his Triple A debut and allowed just three hits and two runs in 4⅔ innings before leaving with an injury.
The Mud Hens nearly took the lead on Ciriaco’s single in the eighth, but pinch runner Argenis Diaz was thrown out at the plate.
One pitch later, Davis came through with his clutch two-run double.
“The big thing for us after that five-run inning was putting that two spot up on the board and gave ourselves a chance,” Davis said. “You have to give a lot of credit to Wilk, he put up a couple zeros after that. He kept us in the game. The bullpen came in and shut them down.”
“Davis came up big,” Nevin said. “When things are going good, you get breaks. The ball landed on the chalk right behind the bag [on Davis’ double]. That’s what happens when things are going your way.”
The Mud Hens take to the road beginning today at Syracuse for the start of an 11-game road trip. The Hens have just seven home games left. The season finale is Sept. 3.
The Hens entered Monday night’s game on a five-game winning streak. Toledo rallied for a 4-3 win over the Bulls on Sunday.
“We were behind last night too,” Head said. “Our pitching staff kept us in the game after that big inning. We came up with good situational hitting.”
Contact Mark Monroe at: email@example.com, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.