Like a man dying of thirst while wandering the desert, the Mud Hens staggered to a 9-5 loss to Norfolk at Fifth Third Field Tuesday night.
For a time it seemed as if Toledo might find an oasis, as the Hens led 4-3 entering the seventh. But instead it turned out to be a mirage as the Tides scored three times in both the seventh and eighth to send Toledo reeling to its 10th straight loss.
The current losing streak is the Hens' longest since June of 1999, when Toledo lost 11 straight.
"We had the lead, and we were going to try and finish it up," Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "We just couldn't get it done."
The Tigers' Jeremy Bonderman made his second rehab start for Toledo and struggled throughout his six innings, giving up seven hits and three walks while allowing at least one baserunner in every inning.
He gave up a run in the first on an RBI single by Matt Wieters, and a dropped fly ball in deep center field by Jason Tyner resulted in a run on a single by Melvin Dorta in the second.
After that Bonderman did not give up a run until the sixth, when Brandon Pinckney slammed his first home run of the season down the left field line.
"I'm just trying to get better, get deeper into games," Bonderman said. "The first two innings I was a little frustrated with the way I was throwing. After the second inning I settled down and just tried to use what I had better.
"My velocity will be there when it's there - I can't control that. I'm just going to go out, try and pitch and be successful."
When asked about where he would pitch next, Bonderman replied, "You [reporters] have as much of an idea as I do."
"I think he's still building up [arm strength]," Parrish said of Bonderman, whose fastball sat in the high 80s with a fastest pitch of 90. "I thought he dropped down some and was on the side of some pitches."
Meanwhile, the Mud Hens offense was productive early, scoring four times in the first three frames. A run-scoring groundout by Marcus Thames got the Hens on the board in the first, and a pair of errors by Norfolk on an attempted double play brought home a run in the second.
Toledo took the lead by scoring twice in the third thanks to a two-run single by Brent Dlugach.
But after that the Hens were shut down by the Norfolk bullpen, which struck out 11 in five innings. Toledo scored one run against Tide relievers Ross Wolf, Bob
McCrory and Alberto Castillo.
Norfolk scored three runs off Casey Fien, who retired only one batter in the seventh, and three more in the eighth off Scot Drucker.
NOTES: Bonderman provided the post-game food for the Hens following yesterday's game and chose a spread from P.F. Chang's. ... Weiters, considered one of the best prospects in baseball, learned after the game that he will be promoted to Baltimore Friday.
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