BLADE/JEFFREY SMITH Enlarge
Mike Hessman made history at Fifth Third Field on Monday.
Before the game the Mud Hens made Hessman, the former Hen who now plays for Louisville, the “strikeout player of the game.”
Hessman foiled that strategy by slamming a pair of home runs, including a moon shot that cleared the left-field scoreboard at Fifth Third Field.
Then the Hens did something unheard of: They changed the strikeout player of the game.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever seen the strikeout player changed,” Hessman said on Tuesday before the Bats beat the Mud Hens 5-3. “The guys in the dugout wershocked. We have never seen that before.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to view
Toledo also sent one of its “Fantastic Freeze Sundaes,” the $25 ice cream in a batting helmet concoction, to the Louisville clubhouse as a peace offering to Hessman, who holds the franchise record with 140 home runs in his five seasons here.
“That was awesome — that put a smile on my face,” Hessman said. “To come in here and know we can joke around about that and have a good time, that makes it awesome.
“The front office, the fans here, everyone here is top-notch. I always enjoy coming back.”
Hessman certainly has a history of hitting home runs in Toledo, having adding to his Fifth Third Field record of 77 with Monday’s pair. He now has 385 home runs as a minor-leaguer, making him the active leader in that category, and he needs just one more homer to reach the 400 mark for his professional career.
On Tuesday Hessman went 1-for-4 with an infield single in a contest that hinged on four Toledo errors that led to three unearned runs.
Hens starter Pat Misch had a throwing error that led to an unearned run in the first, and an error by Mike Cervenak at third base played a key role in Louisville’s three-run second inning. Cervenak also made an error in the fourth and Argenis Diaz was charged with a bad throw in the first.
“In the three games we won in a row we played a complete game — and we didn’t play a complete game [Tuesday],” Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said. “The plays to Cervenak were tough plays, and the ball to Diaz was wet — and the ball to Misch may have been wet, too.
“But at the end of the day, when you have a four in the errors column — and have three unearned runs — that stings a little bit.”
Toledo fell behind 5-0 when the Bats scored a run in the fifth, but rallied to make things interesting in the bottom of the inning.
Danny Dorn, who was added to the International League’s all-star team before the game, hammered his 16th home run of the season to lead off the inning. The Hens cobbled together three more hits to climb back into the contest.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Dorn said about earning a spot in the Triple-A All-Star Game. “It’s been fun, and I thank my teammates – you can’t have RBIs unless you have guys on base.
“I feel Nevin and Bull [hitting coach Leon Durham] have believed in my and let me go out and just play. I’ve just tried to make the most of it.”
NOTES: Tuesday’s game was delayed 40 minutes by rain before the contest. It marked the third time in four days the start of the game was delayed by inclement weather. … Dorn will replace teammate Nick Castellanos on the IL all-star team. Castellanos will return home to Miami to be with his wife, who is expecting to deliver the couple’s first child soon. … Avisail Garcia singled in the first to extend his current hitting streak to nine games.
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.