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Huffman, pitching propel Hens to 1-0 victory

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    Toledo Mud Hens Dixon Machado (6) jumps in the air as he throws the ball to first base in the first inning during the baseball game against Syracuse Chiefs at Fifth Third Field in Toledo on Monday.

    BLADE/SAMANTHA MADAR

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    Toledo Mud Hens Edwin Espinal (5) slides into home plate as Syracuse Chiefs' Pedro Severino tags him at Fifth Third Field in Toledo on Monday.

    BLADE/SAMANTHA MADAR

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    Toledo Mud Hens Warwick Saupold (21) pitches the ball during the baseball game against Syracuse Chiefs at Fifth Third Field in Toledo on Monday.

    BLADE/SAMANTHA MADAR

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The Toledo Mud Hens managed only two hits, but rode outstanding pitching and a solo home run from designated hitter Chad Huffman to beat the visiting Syracuse Chiefs 1-0 on Monday at Fifth Third Field.

What happened: Toledo starter Warwick Saupold pitched 5⅔ scoreless innings, then gave way to Daniel Stumpf in the sixth with the bases loaded. Stumpf kept the game scoreless by striking out Moises Sierra to escape the jam.

The Mud Hens spoiled Syracuse starter Kyle McGowin’s otherwise stellar outing in the seventh, when Huffman slammed a ball off the left-field foul pole for the game’s only run. Edwin Espinal’s third-inning double was the only other Toledo hit.

Zac Reininger completed two scoreless innings of relief, and he pitched around an error in the top of the ninth to earn the save. Toledo surrendered just four hits.

Game MVP: Huffman, whose timely home run gave the Mud Hens’ pitching staff all the support they would need. Huffman’s home run gave him 10 for the season and made him the fourth Mud Hen with double-digit homers.

He said it: “It kept the defense engaged. We were ready every single pitch and we had the pitcher’s back because they kept pounding the zone and not trying to do too much,” Toledo center fielder Jacob Robson said.

“Credit to their guy too; he did a great job. He kept the ball low and forced weak contact, early contact, and that’s kind of what we gave him until Huffman there at the end. He saw a pitch up, it was a mistake, he capitalized on it, and that’s why we won tonight.” 

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Toledo Mud Hens Warwick Saupold (21) pitches the ball during the baseball game against Syracuse Chiefs at Fifth Third Field in Toledo on Monday.

BLADE/SAMANTHA MADAR Enlarge

Make a note of it: Saupold’s outing lowered his ERA by more than a full run, from 5.96 to 4.88. … Reininger’s save was his sixth of the season, and Stumpf picked up his first win. ... Toledo’s victory pulled it within four games of International League West Division leader Indianapolis, which saw its game postponed by weather.

Comings and goings: Pitcher Jacob Turner cleared waivers and will return to Toledo, with which he has spent most of 2018. The Detroit Tigers also placed outfield JaCoby Jones on the 10-day disabled list because of a hamstring injury and promoted Mikie Mahtook to take his roster spot.

A look ahead: The Mud Hens continue the series with Syracuse with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch Tuesday at Fifth Third Field, the second of a seven-game homestand.

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

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