The Mud Hens had plenty of chance to win Wednesday’s game against Columbus.
But Toledo’s baserunning blunders proved costly in a 3-2 loss to the Clippers at Fifth Third Field. The loss was the Mud Hens’ third in the last four games and 11th in the last 15 contests.
The Hens’ baserunning mistakes included two players caught stealing, a third picked off first, and three double plays that limited Toledo’s opportunities to take advantage of 10 hits and four walks.
“We made a lot of outs on the bases,” Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said. “That means we had a lot of runners on base, but you can’t make four outs on the bases like we did.
“We had opportunities to steal bases, but we have to pick better times – and that’s on me.”
Columbus took the lead in the second inning when Matt Carson homered off the scoreboard in left, but the Hens got that run back in the bottom of the inning. Matt Tuiasosopo drew a four-pitch walk, moved to second on a wild pitch by Clippers starter Trevor Bauer, and scored on a two-out single by Danny Dorn.
The Hens took the lead in the fourth when Tuiasosopo was hit by a pitch, then scored from first when Jordan Lennerton doubled high off the wall in right.
But Columbus scored twice in the sixth to claim the come-from-behind victory. With one out Chun Chen singled, then scored the tying run on a double by Jeremy Hermida. Carson singled, but Toledo left fielder Nick Castellanos kept the game tied by throwing Hermida out at home plate.
Carson, who took second on the throw home, scored on a double down the left-field line by Juan Diaz.
“Talk about a game of inches – it was a fair ball, but [the Diaz double] was right on the line,” Nevin said. “If that one goes foul, it may be a tie game.
“Some pitches were up [for Toledo starter Pat Misch], but he pitched to early contact and we made some great defensive plays behind him.”
The Mud Hens seemed poised to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth when Castellanos led off with a single, but he was picked off first by Columbus catcher Roberto Perez. That play proved to be especially costly when Tuiasosopo and Lennerton followed with back-to-back singles that could have scored Castellanos with the tying run.
“We can’t get picked off – especially with the middle of the order coming up,” Nevin said.
Instead Toledo saw double-play groundouts end the sixth and seventh and another double play blunt a potential ninth-inning rally as the Hens lost their fourth consecutive home game.
“It’s tough when you keep losing, but you have to keep fighting,” Misch said. “We can’t think about this game any more; we have to think about the next game.
“We’ve just been getting behind … We’re playing hard, and that’s all you can ask for. You want to win more, but it’s been a little difficult right now.”
NOTES: Tuiasosopo began a rehab assignment with the Mud Hens as the team’s designated hitter and reached base in all four plate appearances. He drew walks in the second and eighth, was hit by a pitch in the fourth and singled in the sixth. He scored both of Toledo’s runs. … Former Ohio State running back Daniel “Boom” Herron signed autographs at Fifth Third Field before the game.