Louisville’s Nick Christiani threw the pitch, and the Mud Hens’ Danny Worth hit it off the end of the bat.
“I was just trying to get a hit — trying to get a runner in,” Worth said. “I think he threw me a cutter — it cut to the end of my bat, and it broke my bat.
“But [the bat] died a warrior.”
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Indeed it did, because the bat’s final swing produced a single that scored Ben Guez from second base to give the Hens a 4-3 victory over the Bats in 10 innings Monday night at Fifth Third Field.
“That was a big hit right there,” Toledo manager Phil Nevin said. “Danny’s still trying to find his rhythm after missing a month and a half, and that’s tough. …
“He’s been playing great defense, and [in this game] he gave us the big hit, too.”
Worth’s RBI single capped a nifty comeback for the Mud Hens, who have won three straight. Toledo scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings, then got the game-winner with two outs in the 10th inning.
“Now we are able to [keep grinding when things don’t go our way],” Nevin said. “I can’t say that [was the case] early in the year.
“I like our clubhouse right now. We have good guys and good chemistry. There’s a lot of good things going on right now.”
The Hens trailed 3-2 in the sixth when they loaded the bases with only one out. When a shallow fly out and a strikeout ended the rally, Toledo didn’t panic.
“We had some good, positive energy the whole game,” Worth said. “Even though we were behind, we never gave up.
“Everyone has to bear down on every pitch, but that’s why we play nine innings — you never know what is going to happen.”
In the ninth Bryan Holaday singled, and pinch-runner Brad Davis moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Worth. Argenis Diaz walked, and Avisail Garcia beat out a slow roller for a single that loaded the bases.
Kevin Russo brought home the game-tying run with a sacrifice fly.
The Mud Hens’ other runs came in the second and third innings off Bats starter Yohan Pino. In the second, Guez walked with one out, raced to third on a double by Danny Dorn, and scored on a single by Holaday.
In the third, Garcia led off with a double, took third on a groundout by Russo, and scored on a groundout by Nick Castellanos, a slow roller down the first-base line.
Until Toledo scored in the bottom of the ninth, those two runs didn’t seem to be enough to keep starter Jose Alvarez from absorbing a tough-luck loss.
Alvarez, pitching for the Hens for the first time after three straight starts for Detroit, only struggled with one hitter: former Hen Mike Hessman, who homered to left-center in the second before clearing the left-field scoreboard with a mammoth home run, his 21st of the year, in the fourth.
The only other Louisville run came in the fifth when Jason Donald doubled, moved to third on a Corky Miller single, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kristopher Negron.
Alvarez didn’t allow any other Bats to advance past second base, giving up seven hits and no walks while fanning four on just 89 pitches.
“He got through eight innings, and his [pitch] count was low,” Nevin said of Alvarez. “[Louisville] is an aggressive team, a lot of first-pitch swings, and I think that feeds into Alvarez and his style of pitching.”
Jess Todd came on in the ninth and retired the Bats in one-two-three order, then did even better in the 10th when he struck out the side.
“Absolutely, that kept our momentum rolling,” Nevin said. “Jess works quickly and has a lot of movement on the ball.
“Those three big strikeouts kept the momentum in our favor.”
NOTES: Russo was 0 for 4 besides the sacrifice fly to snap a nine-game hitting streak. … Garcia finished with a pair of hits and has an eight-game hit streak. Garcia also has 11 multi-hit games in his 14 contests with the Hens. … Holaday’s two hits extended his hit streak to seven games. … Toledo improved to 5-8 in extra-inning games. Louisville fell to 1-5. … Monday’s crowd of 4,697 was the smallest crowd for a July game in Fifth Third Field’s 12-year history.