The Mud Hens don’t have to look at the International League standings to know they have struggled to start this season.
Toledo used an offensive outburst to get its current homestand off to a good start, posting a 10-2 victory over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Fifth Third Field on Tuesday.
The Hens, who came into the contest ranked last in the 14-team league in batting average (.220) and runs (127), scored in five different innings to win their second game in a row.
“That’s in the past, and you can’t dwell on it,” Danny Dorn said of the team’s slow offensive start. “We’re trying to look forward here.
“Obviously we would have liked to get off to a better start, but all we can do is control what we do from here on out — and that’s to prepare as well as we can and play as hard as we can.”
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Dorn had a double and a triple as well as a sacrifice fly to post four RBIs, while Ben Guez had a double and a two-run homer as part of the Hens’ 12-hit attack.
“We’ve been struggling collectively to get runners in scoring position and then drive them in, and we’ve been putting pressure on ourselves,” Guez said. “The last couple of nights we’ve really gone out and put some good at-bats together, and that’s been contagious.”
The Hens manufactured a run in the second when Guez doubled, moved to third on a groundout to the right side by Kevin Russo, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Quintin Berry.
Toledo then scored three times in the fourth as Guez launched a two-run shot to right, his second home run in as many days, and Brandon Douglas hammered his first home run with the Hens.
The Mud Hens then tacked on a pair of runs in the fifth thanks to a two-run double by Dorn, and his triple in the seventh scored Nick Castellanos from first base.
In the ninth Toledo roughed up former Hen Clay Rapada with three runs. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases, and Jordan Lennerton and Castellanos drew back-to-back walks to force runs home before Dorn hit a sacrifice fly.
That was more than enough offense for Jose Alvarez, who didn’t allow Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to push a runner past second base until the sixth, when the RailRiders scored twice.
“I thought Alvarez made good pitches when he needed to,” Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said. “There weren’t many hard-hit balls against him because he got inside guys and forced them to hit balls off the end of the bat.”
Alvarez allowed eight hits but did not walk a batter while striking out seven.
“They were very aggressive, so I knew they would swing at fastballs,” Alvarez said. “So I tried to mix my pitches and let the team play good defense.”
Evan Reed followed with two scoreless innings while Jeff Todd closed the game with a 1-2-3 ninth.
NOTES: Toledo will skip Friday’s scheduled start for LHP Casey Crosby, who felt some soreness in his start at Indianapolis on Sunday. RHP Luke Putkonen will start in Crosby’s place Friday against the RailRiders. … RHP Robbie Weinhardt was called up from Double-A Erie to give the Mud Hens 25 players on the active roster. Toledo was one player short after OF Avisail Garcia was promoted to Detroit on Monday. … Major league umpire Mike Estabrook is on a rehab assignment and served as the second-base ump for Tuesday’s contest.
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.