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Kyle Lobstein did his best Tuesday night to match teammate Blaine Hardy.
While he came up short of Hardy’s one-hit complete-game victory against Gwinnett on Monday, Lobstein did get some help from the Mud Hens’ bullpen in a 5-0 victory over the Braves.
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Lobstein held Gwinnett in check over 6 1/3 innings, while relievers Evan Reed, Darin Downs, and Jose Ortega got the final eight outs in Toledo’s second shutout in as many days. It’s the first time the Hens have posted back-to-back shutouts since they blanked Louisville on July 6-7 of last season.
“When I came out of the game, I told Blaine, ‘Well, I tried [to match you],’ ” Lobstein said.
Lobstein allowed just five hits, didn’t walk a batter, and struck out six. What’s more, he didn’t allow a runner past second base and threw strikes on 63 of 92 pitches.
The 24-year-old lefty said he tried to apply some of the lessons from Hardy’s start Monday.
“I tried to focus on the pitches their guys were struggling to hit against Blaine,” he said. “We both threw a lot of fastballs for strikes, and that set up all of our other pitches.”
Lobstein also gave credit to catcher Ronny Paulino. “He calls a good game,” Lobstein said. “He has a lot of experience, and a lot of times I just put all my trust in him — whatever he put down there, I tried to throw it.”
Another way Tuesday’s game matched Monday was that the Mud Hens got a two-run homer in the first inning to take an early lead. Hernan Perez got Toledo rolling with a single, and he came around to score on Danny Dorn’s 25th home run of the season.
Dorn slammed the ball to straight-away center, and Gwinnett’s Todd Cunningham appeared to make a leaping catch at the fence. But after a few seconds it became apparent Cunningham hadn’t made the catch.
“I thought he caught it — I was waiting for him to flip the ball out of his glove,” Dorn admitted. “He’s pretty good out there, and he made a good play on it out there.
“I’m glad he didn’t [catch it].”
That gives Dorn the International League’s RBI lead with 81.
“If guys are on base, I’m just trying to get them in,” he said. “You can’t get RBIs without guys on base, and hitting behind Nick [Castellanos] and Jordan [Lennerton] is the reason I have as many RBIs as I have.”
Toledo added a pair of runs in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Kevin Russo and a two-out run-scoring single by Argenis Diaz. The Hens closed the scoring in the eighth when Nick Castellanos hit into a force out with the bases loaded to bring home a run.
“This game was a carbon copy of the night before,” Nevin said. “We took good at-bats throughout.”
NOTES: The Mud Hens have a day off today before beginning a four-game series in Louisville Thursday. … Perez had three hits plus a walk in five plate appearances and now has an eight-game hitting streak. … Tuesday’s crowd was announced at 6,892 humans and 150 dogs for a “Hens and Hounds” promotion.