BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge
Scott Sizemore says he has no hard feelings with the Detroit Tigers.
“I’ve never had any animosity towards [the Tigers],” he said. “They were a great organization to come up with, and I have nothing but the utmost respect for those guys. But it is nice to beat them.”
It was Sizemore, who played for the Mud Hens from 2009-11 before the Tigers traded him to Oakland, who supplied the key hit in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s 8-7 victory over Toledo at Fifth Third Field Tuesday.
PHOTO GALLERY: Mud Hens fall 8-7 to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
With the bases loaded, no one out, and the RailRiders trailing by a run, Sizemore managed to hit a grounder back up the middle on an 0-2 pitch from Hens closer Kevin Whelan to score the tying and winning runs.
“I was just trying to get the ball in the air to score one, and if I scored more than one, so be it,” Sizemore said. “I felt I just missed the first pitch, and he gave me a good split-finger to go down 0-2.
“From there I was just in pure battle mode, trying to score a run somehow. And I got the ball through the middle to score two.”
It was a frustrating finish for Toledo after the Hens had taken the lead in the bottom of the eighth on a homer by Ben Guez.
“It just didn’t pan out,” Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. “But we were so close. Sizemore hit it off the end of the bat, but it dribbled through for two runs.
“If Whelan grabs it, he can throw home for a 1-2-3 double play. And then he struck out the next batter, so we were close to winning.”
It was a game that saw Toledo jump out to a big early lead thanks to a four-run second inning off Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starter Jeremy Bleich. The Hens sent eight batters to the plate in that inning and benefited from an RBI double by James McCann and a run-scoring triple by Danny Worth.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre managed to tie the game off Toledo starter Robbie Ray. They got one run back in the third, and a triple to deep center by Sizemore with one out in the fourth jump-started a three-run rally that tied the game.
The Hens retook the lead with a pair of runs in the fifth, with a McCann double the key hit, only to see Ray surrender a two-run homer to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s Austin Romine in the sixth.
“It was a good night to hit,” Parrish said. “The ball was carrying well — but they only carry well when you hit them with the head of the bat.”
Guez homered off RailRiders reliever Robert Coello to open the eighth, the seventh homer of the season for Guez, but Sizemore’s hit gave his team the lead for good.
The Mud Hens seemed poised for one more rally in the bottom of the ninth when former major leaguer Heath Bell walked Hernan Perez, who stole second and raced to third when the throw by Romine from behind the plate squirted away. Bell walked Wade Gaynor, but McCann hit a come-backer to Bell and Trevor Crowe grounded out to end the threat — and the game.
NOTES: Mike Hessman again did not play for Toledo, and Parrish said his return for the final two games in this homestand is doubtful. … Gaynor singled to lead off the third and now has a seven-game hitting streak.