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Wednesday, November 26, 2014
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Published: Wednesday, 5/8/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Hens’ bats lacking: Offense goes dormant in shutout loss to Red Wings

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Rochester catcher Chris Herrmann heads to the mound as Toledo’s Jordan Lennerton strikes out to end the game. Toledo is 9-25. Rochester catcher Chris Herrmann heads to the mound as Toledo’s Jordan Lennerton strikes out to end the game. Toledo is 9-25.
BLADE/LORI KING Enlarge

Both the Mud Hens and Rochester needed a strong effort from their pitchers after the two teams played 16 innings Tuesday.

Toledo got good performances from Ramon Garcia and Kenny Faulk. But the Red Wings got an dominating performance from Kyle Gibson.

Gibson threw a complete-game, four-hit shutout to pitch the Wings to a 3-0 victory Wednesday at Fifth Third Field.

PHOTO GALLERY: Mud Hens shut out at home

Gibson allowed just six baserunners on four singles and two walks, and he didn’t allow a Mud Hen to advance past second base.

“I know I’ve said this quite a bit, but you’ve got to score runs to win,” Toledo manager Phil Nevin said. “You can tip your cap to a pitcher, but we still have to score runs.”

When asked if he saw better at-bats from his team, he said, “When you don’t get a runner past second base in a baseball game, I can’t answer that with a ‘Yes.’ ”

Some of the credit also goes to Gibson, one of Minnesota’s top prospects. The 25-year-old right-hander wanted to give his bullpen a rest, and he did just that with what became the first complete game of his pro career.

“I knew going out there I had to go deep into the game,” Gibson said. “[Pitching coach] Marty Mason said I had 110 [pitches], and knowing that — and knowing I needed to be efficient [with my pitches] — really helped me.

“My fastball command wasn’t that good, but I think I worked inside enough during the game to open up the away fastball and the slider late in the game.”

While Gibson did post eight strikeouts, he also got 13 ground-ball outs, including a pair of double plays. After a fourth-inning single by Jordan Lennerton, the Mud Hens got just one ball into the outfield.

“He had that comeback fastball that would back a left-handed hitter away and then come back over the plate,” Nevin said. “That’s tough to handle when a guy has that working.

“And his breaking ball gave our right-handed hitters a little bit of trouble. … When he’s able to command the zone with that kind of stuff, he’s going to give offenses problems.”

The lack of offense wasted strong efforts by Garcia and Faulk, who helped the Hens’ beleaguered bullpen rest after covering 12 innings on Tuesday.

“After 16 innings [Tuesday] night, what Garcia and Faulk did were two great outings,” Nevin said. “They really helped get us back to almost full strength in the bullpen.”

Garcia bounced back from a two-run, first-inning home run by Evan Bigley to retire 15 of the last 18 batters he faced.

“I went to take him out — this is his third start, remember, and he was around 70 pitches in his last start — and he said he wanted to pitch some more for the team,” Nevin said of Garcia. “And that brings a smile to my face.”

Faulk allowed just one hit in three innings, a triple by Eric Farris in the eighth.

Farris eventually scored on a sacrifice fly.

NOTES: Tigers reliever Phil Coke is expected to throw one inning in relief today as part of his rehab assignment with the Mud Hens. … Bigley left the gave after injuring his wrist making a diving catch in the bottom of the first. Rochester manager Gene Glynn said Bigley is day to day. … The Wings’ Clete Thomas, who played for both the Mud Hens and Tigers, left Tuesday’s game with a mild quadriceps problem and did not play Wednesday. He also is day to day.

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



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