BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge
The Mud Hens and Columbus had a similar number of baserunners in Sunday’s game at Fifth Third Field.
But only one team took advantage of its opportunities – and that was the Hens, who claimed a 6-2 victory.
Toledo collected five hits, not to mention a walk and a hit batsman, in its first 10 plate appearances with a runner in scoring position. Meanwhile the Clippers were 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position for the contest.
PHOTO GALLERY: Mud Hens beat Columbus: 8-4
“We took advantage of our chances,” Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said. “[Starter Kyle] Lobstein threw strikes and kept us in the game.
“He had some innings with runners on base, but it was damage control — and that’s how you pitch when you get a lead. He did a good job.”
Lobstein used a double play to avoid trouble in the first, and Toledo jumped on top with a four-run second off Columbus starter Carlos Carrasco.
With one out, singles by Danny Dorn, Ben Guez and Bryan Holaday produced one run.
A walk to Argenis Diaz loaded the bases, and Gustavo Nunez singled in a run.
Danny Worth hit into a fielder’s choice that scored a third run, and when Clippers second baseman Nate Spears threw wildly to first, a four run came home.
The Clippers scored a run in the fourth with three straight singles, and a sacrifice put runners on second and third with one out.
Lobstein notched back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.
“The main thing is limiting the damage when guys are on base and in scoring position,” Lobstein said. “I gave up quite a few hits compared to my innings pitched, but none of them were big hits.
“Giving up a hit here and there every inning as long they don’t [bunch them].”
Columbus threatened again in the fifth when with one out Lobstein gave up a single and double. The Clippers got a sacrifice fly, but the Hens lefty ended that inning with a strikeout.
“In my last start, I didn’t throw as many strikes as I wanted to,” said Lobstein, who struck out three in a row in the sixth to finish with seven whiffs and no walks. “I threw a lot more strikes — a lot more quality strikes.
“The hitters have to respect your stuff when you’re throwing strikes.”
Lobstein admitted that the early four-run cushion helped him.
“It was nice to get those runs — you can relax a little bit,” Lobstein admitted. “You feel you can go out there and keep throwing strikes.
“While I gave up some hits, the offense gave me enough cushion to keep throwing strikes and getting outs.”
Toledo finished the scoring with two runs in the fifth when Diaz doubled, moved to third on a single by Nunez and scored on a single by Worth. Jordan Lennerton was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Nick Castellanos singled to score Nunez, although Worth was thrown out at the plate trying to score.
“It was good to get some production out of the bottom of our order,” Nevin said.
“[Gustavo] Nunez is doing a great job now that he’s getting a chance to play."
That four-run lead was more than enough as Luke Putkonen pitched around three walks to throw two scoreless innings, and Jose Valverde gave up two walks but kept the Clippers off the board in the ninth.
NOTES: Before the game, Detroit announced moves that will send pitchers Darin Downs and Evan Reed to Toledo. After the game, the Mud Hens sent pitcher Justin Souza to Double-A Erie. … Jess Todd was placed on the disabled list and Jon Link also came off the temporary inactive list. … The crowd of 9,299 at Sunday’s game was the Mud Hens 24th sellout this season and the 351st sellout in Fifth Third Field history.
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.