Toledo Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish and Buffalo Bisons manager Gary Allenson exchange lineups before the game.
The Mud Hens’ clubhouse was full of smiles, noise, and laughter following an 11-0 win against Buffalo at Fifth Third Field on Thursday.
And the reasons for the good feelings were obvious: The offense piled up 13 hits, including five for extra bases, while five pitchers combined for an eight-hit shutout. The result was Toledo’s most lopsided win since a 20-8 victory at Louisville in April.
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“We’re just coming to the field every day, trying to have fun,” said the Hens’ Ben Guez, who homered, singled twice, and finished with five RBIs. “When we have fun and relax, we put good at-bats together.
“When one guy does it, and then another guy does it, suddenly you have 11 runs and 13 hits — and we’re all having fun.”
The Mud Hens scored twice in the opening inning. Ezequiel Carrera walked, then raced home from first on a Hernan Perez double.
Perez took third on Tyler Collins’ fly to right, then scored on a single by Guez.
“I was just looking for something good to hit,” Guez said. “I got one and drove it into left. It felt good to get on top early.”
Toledo doubled its lead in the third thanks to Guez, who followed another double by Perez with a long fly off the left-field scoreboard for his sixth home run of the season.
“We hit some balls hard — Perez hit some doubles hard, and Guez had the two big hits early,” Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. “To me, those were the important runs.
“We got off to an early lead, and it helped put together an unbelievable inning in the sixth.”
In that frame Toledo put together a six-run rally, with seven straight baserunners reaching with two outs. The key hits in that rally were a two-run single by Guez and a double by Trevor Crowe that allowed two runners to score.
“That’s hard to do even in [batting practice] when we’re trying to let them hit it,” Parrish said.
That was more than enough offense as Robbie Ray came off the disabled list. He gave up four hits and two walks, but also stranded six baserunners in his four innings.
Then the bullpen allowed just four hits in five scoreless innings. Mike Belfiore handled the fifth, Chad Smith struck out four and got a double play in two innings, and Pat McCoy and Jose Ortega closed out the win.
“Belfiore got through the tough part of their lineup [in the fifth], and Smith threw the ball really well for two innings,” Parrish said. “And by then we had opened up a pretty good gap.”
NOTES: Detroit made a trade with Seattle to acquire C Manny Pina for a player to be named later. The Mud Hens released C Luis Exposito to make room for Pina on the Toledo roster. … Mike Hessman took batting practice Thursday as he looks to a return from a wrist injury he suffered in Buffalo five games ago. Parrish said Hessman’s status is day-to-day.