Monday, Aug 20, 2018
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Mud Hens

Mud Hen pitching shuts down Stripers

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    Hens outfielder Kenny Wilson celebrates in the dugout.

    Blade/Jetta Fraser

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    Hens shortstop Harold Castro rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the seventh inning.

    Blade/Jetta Fraser

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    Josh Turley pitched five innings, yielding one run, unearned, two hits and four walks while striking out 10.

    Blade/Jetta Fraser

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    Hens infielder Dawel Lugo waits for a grounder hit by Stripers Jonathan Morales for the second out in the ninth inning.

    Blade/Jetta Fraser

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    Edwin Espinal hits a single to left in the fifth inning. He would later score on a double hit by Ronny Rodriguez.

    Blade/Jetta Fraser

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    Hens infielder Edwin Espinal greets shortstop Harold Castro after Castro's two-run home run in the seventh inning.

    Blade/Jetta Fraser

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    Kenny Wilson hits a single to right in the fifth inning. He would later score on a double hit by Ronny Rodriguez.

    Blade/Jetta Fraser

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    Kenny Wilson is safe as the pitcher's pickoff attempt to Stripers infielder Carlos Franco misses the mark in the third inning.

    Blade/Jetta Fraser

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    Hens centerfielder Kenny Wilson catches a fly to center for the third out in the eighth inning.

    Blade/Jetta Fraser

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    Ronny Rodriguez extends his hitting streak to 16 with a fifth inning double that plated two runners to put the Hens up 3-1.

    Blade/Jetta Fraser

The Toledo Mud Hens earned a fourth consecutive series win and their 12th victory in 14 games by topping visiting Gwinnett 5-1 on Sunday at Fifth Third Field. At 28-13, Toledo has the best record in all of minor-league baseball.

What happened: Toledo side-stepped a handful of defensive miscues to keep Gwinnett from a big inning, third baseman Ronny Rodriguez had three RBIs, and shortstop Harold Castro hit a two-run home run — his first of the season — in the seventh inning for added insurance.

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Game MVP: The Hens’ pitching staff. Four Toledo pitchers, led by starter Josh Turley, combined to allow two hits and zero earned runs. Turley struck out 10 Gwinnett batters in five innings compared with four walks, and the only runner who scored reached on a strikeout and a passed ball in the fifth. Turley maanged to escape the bases-loaded, no-out situation in that inning with limited damage.

Paul Voelker allowed no hits and two walks in two innings, then Caleb Thielbar and Johnny Barbato pitched perfect eighth and ninth innings, respectively.

VIDEO: Mud Hens 5, Stripers 1

He said it: “I think the most fun climate to throw it in is when the wind is blowing in your face. The ball just takes off and you really don’t know where it’s going to go, but the movement is absolutely crazy. People think I’m crazy for saying that because it’s a hitter’s advantage with the wind blowing out, but it’s pretty fun for a knuckleballer to see.” — Turley said of his knuckleball.

He said it, version 2.0: “The unpredictability of [the knuckleball] makes it hard to hit, but it also makes it hard to control. … You always preach damage control, and he did that today. The fifth could’ve gotten ugly, and he kept it to one run.” — Toledo manager Doug Mientkiewicz of Turley.

Make a note of it: With his two-run double in the fifth — which proved to be the game-winner — Rodriguez stretched his hitting streak to 16 games. He also recorded an RBI sacrifice fly in the third for Toledo’s first run. … All five Mud Hens runs came from sixth or later in the batting order. No. 6 hitter Edwin Espinal (2 for 3) and No. 8 hitter Kenny Wilson (1 for 2, walk) each scored twice, while No. 9 hitter Castro had his solo shot to right field. ... Official attendance for the game was 6,312. ... Gwinnett left nine runners on base and finished the game 0-for-6 with a runner in scoring position. ... Stripers starter Max Fried, who has service time with Atlanta this season, allowed four hits and two walks in 6⅓ innings. He was charged with four runs, three of which were earned.

A look ahead: Toledo travels to Columbus for a four-game series that begins Monday. The Hens have beaten up on the Clippers recently, having won 12 of the past 15 dating to last season.

Contact Nicholas Piotrowicz at: npiotrowicz@theblade.com, 419-724-6110, or on Twitter @NickPiotrowicz

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