Mud Hens rally but still fall short in opener

Toledo loses to Louisville after faltering in 9th inning


LOUISVILLE — The Toledo Mud Hens managed an improbable three-run rally to tie the score in the ninth inning on Thursday night.

Three pitches into the bottom of the ninth, it all went for naught.

Louisville designated hitter Felix Perez smacked a 1-1 pitch over the right-field fence, a solo home run that nudged the Bats past the Mud Hens 4-3 in the International League opener for both teams.

Former Hens first baseman Mike Hessman hit two solo home runs — in the fourth and seventh innings — that put Louisville up 3-0. Right fielder Denis Phipps’ single in the second provided the game’s first run.

That seemed like enough for Bats left hander Tony Cingrani, who struck out 14 batters, walked one, and didn’t allow a hit in six innings. Cingrani — a third-round pick out of Rice by the Reds in 2011 — threw 88 pitches.

The Louisville bullpen couldn’t protect the lead, though, on a night when right fielder Danny Dorn broke up the no-hitter with a leadoff single in the eighth.

Toledo stormed back in the ninth, when catcher Bryan Holaday began the rally with a walk. After a strikeout, center fielder Quintin Berry reached on error, setting up third baseman Kevin Russo’s RBI double that made it 3-1.

Left fielder Nick Castellanos hit a sacrifice fly that made it 3-2 before Dorn’s single to center tied it. The threat ended when Danny Worth struck out looking with runners on the corners.

Mud Hens starter Shawn Hill allowed three runs on five hits in seven innings. The right hander struck out four and walked none.

NOTES: The Tigers claimed RHP Evan Reed on waivers from Miami on Wednesday and assigned him to the Mud Hens. The 27-year-old right hander spent last season with the Marlins’ Triple-A team in New Orleans, where he had a 2-3 record and 7.16 ERA. ... Toledo released RHP Rob Waite to make room for Reed.