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It took more than nine innings and two late-inning comebacks, but the Mud Hens finally found a way to beat Norfolk.
Manny Pina singled home Tyler Collins with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning to give Toledo an 8-7 win, the Hens’ first win in seven tries against the Tides this season.
The contest was a wild-and-woolly affair that saw Toledo build a 5-1 lead, only to see Norfolk score five times in the seventh to take a 6-5 lead.
The Mud Hens found a way to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh, only to see the Tides score a run to retake the lead before the Hens scored in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game once more.
PHOTO GALLERY: Mud Hens finally top Norfolk 8-7
And that doesn’t include a 19-minute rain delay, two safety squeezes by one team, a triple that wasn’t — not to mention a position player who moved to the mound in a game that lasted 4:22.
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But it all was capped by Pina’s game-winning hit, which snapped the Hens’ four-game losing streak.
Collins got the game-winning rally started with a double off Norfolk’s Cord Phelps, a third baseman who was called on to pitch. James McCann’s groundout to second pushed Collins to third, and Collins trotted home on Pina’s grounder through the hole at shortstop against a drawn-in infield.
The Tides got a run in the first inning off Toledo starter Mike Belfiore as Ivan De Jesus singled with one out, took second on a groundout, and scored on a single by Steve Clevenger.
The Toledo offense found a groove against Tides starter Tyler Wilson. The Hens tied the game in the second thanks to two singles, a walk, and a sacrifice fly by Brandon Douglas, then built a lead with a three-run fourth.
Danny Worth singled home one run, a safety squeeze by Daniel Fields brought home a second, and Ben Guez capped the rally with an RBI double that rolled to the wall in left-center.
The Hens added a run in the fifth when Mike Hessman scored on a safety squeeze that turned into a bunt single by Douglas.
Meanwhile, Belfiore held the Tides in check until the seventh, when back-to-back doubles by Francisco Peguero and Henry Urrutia produced a run. Then a walk to Phelps ended Belfiore’s night, and Justin Miller struggled in relief.
Miller gave up an RBI double to former Hen Quintin Berry, an RBI groundout to De Jesus, a game-tying run-scoring single by Jimmy Paredes, and a go-ahead RBI double by Christian Walker.
The Hens managed to retie the game in the bottom of the seventh. McCann led off by blooping a double down the right-field line, then moved to third on a wild throw. One out later, Douglas hit a sacrifice fly that allowed McCann to trot home.
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Evan Reed came on for Toledo in the eighth and struggled, giving up four straight singles — including a run-scoring hit by Paredes — with one out.
With the bases loaded, Reed managed to limit the damage to one run thanks to a strikeout and a flyout.
And again the Hens found a way to tie the game. Jordan Lennerton worked Norfolk reliever Ramon Ramirez for a walk, and pinch-runner Wade Gaynor stole second before racing home on a triple to right by Hessman.
But with pinch-runner Hernan Perez standing on third base with one out, Toledo could not find a way to get that go-ahead run home.
It looked as if the Hens might find a way to score in the ninth when Fields slammed a ball to deep centerfield and raced to third. But the Tides claimed Fields missed second base, and he was called out on appeal.
Kevin Whelan retired all six batters he faced in two scoreless innings, and Kenny Faulk pitched a 1-2-3 11th.
NOTES: The game was delayed 19 minutes by rain before the start of the second inning. … The Mud Hens improved to 6-2 in extra-inning games this season.