Louisville Bats pitcher Tony Cingrani drops the ball after fielding a bunt by Mud Hens center fielder Quintin Berry during the first inning.
The Mud Hens have seen more than enough of Louisville’s Tony Cingrani.
The 23-year-old left-hander continued to dominate Toledo Sunday, retiring five of the seven batters he faced in two hitless, scoreless innings in a game the Bats won 2-1 at Fifth Third Field.
The good news was that Cingrani, one of the top prospects in Cincinnati’s organization, was limited to two innings because of a potential injury to Reds starter Johnny Cueto on Saturday in Pittsburgh.
“We had instructions to limit Tony,” Louisville manager Jim Riggleman said. “Tony will stay with us when we travel to Columbus, and we’ll see what happens with Cueto in the next day or two.
“If the news is not good with Cueto, then Tony may go. And in case that happens, we had to have him ready to go.”
Cingrani was virtually unhittable when he faced the Mud Hens on opening day April 4, retiring 14 of the 19 Toledo batters he faced on strikeouts in six hitless, scoreless innings.
The only Hen who reached base against Cingrani in Louisville was Jordan Lennerton, who drew a walk.
“I just threw a bunch of fastballs, and they couldn’t hit them. That was that,” Cingrani said.
The only Toledo hitter who reached base against Cingrani on Sunday was Quintin Berry, who bunted a ball back to the mound that the lefty mishandled for an error. Cingrani balked Berry to second, and Berry stole third but was stranded there.
Riggleman said Cingrani, who has allowed just three hits and two walks while fanning 26 in 14 ⅓ innings this season, has been working with Louisville pitching coach Ted Power to fine-tune his slider and change-up.
“To be successful in the big leagues, he’s going to have to have that second pitch not necessarily perfected, but it’s going to have to be effective,” Riggleman said. “And he’s going to have to have a third pitch.”
NO HESS: An injured left wrist kept former Mud Hen Mike Hessman out of the lineup for the fourth straight game. That meant Hessman didn’t play against his former team in his return to Fifth Third Field.
That may have been a good thing, since Hessman batted .385 with four home runs and six RBIs in four games against Toledo in Louisville.
Riggleman said he was “honored” to manage Hessman.
“What he’s done in his career [is impressive],” Riggleman said. “His work habits before the game are impeccable.
“And the respect everybody has for him, for what he’s done and for playing so long, is amazing.”
GOOD EATS: The Mud Hens organization bought a special dinner for both teams Friday in thanks for playing in the wet, cold conditions prevalent in Thursday’s home opener.
The Toledo players ate a buffet from The Beirut, while the Louisville players had food from Outback Steakhouse.