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Casey Crosby gave up only one run in his last two starts -- and lost them both.
Sunday he found himself behind 2-0 just three pitches into his start against Louisville at Fifth Third Field.
It was a deficit the Mud Hens couldn't help the 23-year-old lefty overcome as Toledo suffered a 4-3 loss to the Bats.
"You can't throw a shutout every time out," said Crosby, who made just two mistakes yet lost for the fifth time in his last six starts. "A home run is only one run. You have to go back to work and limit them as best you can."
Denis Phipps singled on Crosby's second pitch of the game, and Didi Gregorius hammered the next pitch off the buildings behind the right-field fence for a two-run homer.
"I wanted to throw a strike early, and [Gregorius] jumped on a fastball and got me," Crosby said.
The only other runs the southpaw allowed came in the fifth when Willie Harris singled, and Phipps lined a curveball down the left-field line and off the foul pole for his 15th home run of the season.
"I felt I threw well," said Crosby, who allowed seven hits and one walk in six innings. "I came in knowing I might not have my best stuff because it's late in the year, and that I might have to scrap and really use all of my pitches."
Crosby finished with eight strikeouts, just two off his season high. He relied extensively on his curveball, collecting five of those whiffs with his breaking pitch.
"Maybe I threw my curveball a little too much, but they were swinging at it and making outs," Crosby said. "Early in the game I noticed they were taking good hacks [at the fastball] and swinging early, so I had to be aggressive with my curveball.
"I knew if I threw a good fastball they would put a good swing on it."
Toledo also saw its bullpen sparkle as Daniel Schlereth, Luis Marte, and Zach Miner each retire all three batters they faced.
"I thought Daniel looked sharp," Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said. "Marte's stuff has been crisp, and all three guys who came out of the pen throwing strikes, which is a key."
The Mud Hens, who were shut out in Crosby's last two starts, avoided that fate when Danny Dorn, who began the season with Louisville, homered in the second off Bats starter Tim Gustafson.
Toledo managed just three hits off Gustafson and didn't push a runner past second until the seventh. Ryan Raburn had an RBI single in the eighth, and pinch-hitter John Lindsey had a run-scoring single in the ninth.
The Hens stranded the potential game-tying run at first and saw a five-game winning streak end.
"We played a good baseball game, and sometimes you lose them," Nevin said. "We faced a guy [in Gustafson] that was throwing the ball well, and things just didn't our way.
"It looked as if he was spotting the ball well and had a good fastball. But we battled to the end and gave ourselves a chance [to win]."
NOTES: The Mud Hens will take today off before beginning a series against Indianapolis Tuesday at Fifth Third Field. … Marte celebrated his 26th birthday Sunday. … Sunday's crowd of 9,293 was the Mud Hens 30th sellout this season.