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.
RELATED CONTENT: Tigers smartly resist temptation to promote scorching Stewart
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.
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.