Toledo, Ohio – The Toledo Mud Hens defeated the Columbus Clippers by a score of 9-5 Thursday night. The win gives the Mud Hens a two game win streak and 2-1 series lead against the Clippers. The contest was an offensive showcase for the Hens as five batters recorded multi-hit games. Amongst them was Victor Reyes who extended his hitting streak to a whopping nine games with a 4-5 performance.
RHP Logan Shore got the starting nod Thursday evening, looking to help give Toledo the series lead against Columbus after splitting the first two games of a six game set. Shore was on cruise control in the first, quickly retiring the top of the Clippers batting order. Shortstop Isaac Paredes continued his hot streak in the bottom of the first, legging out an infield single. Designated hitter Renato Nunez took one for the team later in inning, wearing a pitch by Columbus starter Scott Moss. The two baserunners put pressure on the Clippers, but the Hens were unable to bring any of the runners in to score as Columbus escaped an early jam.
The Clippers fell in order in the top of the second, largely thanks to catcher Juan Centeno’s laser to catch a runner attempting to steal second base. Shore would take care of the rest himself, striking out two. Unfortunately for the Mud Hens, they too would fall in order in the bottom of the second.
Going back to work in the third, Shore continued to roll, inducing three straight softly hit fly ball outs. Still tied at 0-0, the Hens looked to make a splash in the bottom of the third. Left fielder Derek Hill gave the Hens a promising start, leading off the inning with a sharply hit single. Hill would go on to successfully steal second three pitchers later. A walk to center fielder Daz Cameron put two runners on with nobody out with the middle of the Toledo lineup looming. A bloop single to right fielder Victor Reyes loaded the bases for the Hens with still nobody out. However, an infield fly out and a strikeout put the Mud Hens chances of getting on the board in serious jeopardy. Thankfully, first baseman Aderlin Rodriguez would muscle a single to left field, scoring Hill and Cameron.
Working with a 2-0 lead, Shore began to face some adversity for the first time in the top of the fourth. A deep solo shot early in the inning cut the Mud Hens lead in half, 2-1. Back to back singles and a walk with two outs would load the bases and really but pressure on the Toledo righty. Inducing a clutch groundball remedied the log jam, as Shore worked out of the inning. Looking to add to the Hens lead, second baseman Yariel Gonzalez led off the inning with a single. An error in right field also allowed Juan Centeno to reach. Another error by the Columbus defense would allow Gonzalez to reach third, putting runners at the corners with no one out. Continuing his welcome back tour, Daz Cameron lined a single to right, scoring Gonzalez, and making it a 3-1 Toledo lead. A bloop single by Victor Reyes would load the bases for the second consecutive inning for the Hens. Isaac Paredes would take advantage of the RBI opportunity, sending a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Centeno and advancing Cameron to third. A walk to Renato Nunez would load the bases for the second time in the inning. A deep double to left center field by Aderlin Rodriguez would clear the bases, extending the Hens lead to 7-1.
Logan Shore returned for the top of the fifth, pitching a clean 1-2-3 inning; a nice return to form for the righty after a turbulent fourth. However, the Mud Hens would fall victim to the 1-2-3 inning themselves in the bottom of the fifth, still holding onto the 7-1 lead.
LHP Derek Holland came on in relief of Shore to start the sixth inning. The appearance marked Holland’s first appearance of the season for the Hens as he attempts to rehab a shoulder strain. Outside of a leadoff hit by pitch, Holland would work a quick inning, recording a striking out and getting a softly hit groundout and flyout. In the bottom of the inning, Victor Reyes could continue his massive day at the plate, drilling a double off the left field wall. Reyes would come around to score on an Isaac Paredes line drive triple into left field.
Now leading 8-1, LHP Miguel Del Pozo would take over for Holland in the top of the seventh. Del Pozo surrendered a pair of singles in the inning but stranded both runners. Looking to blow open the game even further, Yariel Gonzalez would single in the bottom of the seventh but was later erased in an inning ending double play.
RHP Alex Lange took over in the top of the eighth inning, making his first appearance for the Mud Hens since being optioned by the Tigers. It was laborious inning for Lange as he threw 29 pitches, surrendering two walks and a single. A wild pitch would bring a runner in to score before closing out the inning. With the lead decreased to 8-2, Daz Cameron roped a stand up triple into the right field corner. Victor Reyes would line a single to right field, scoring Cameron and bringing the Hens lead back up to 7, leading 9-2. Isaac Paredes would later walk and Aderlin Rodriguez would get hit by a pitch, loading the bases. This time however, the Mud Hens would not cash in with the bases juiced, ending the inning with just the one run.
RHP Nolan Blackwood would enter the game in the ninth, looking to put the finishing touches on another Mud Hens win. The inning would not be an easy one for Blackwood, giving up back to back leadoff singles before a double would bring one in to score. A wild pitch would let another run in and advance the second runner to third. A fielder’s choice finally got the inning’s first out, but also allowed a runner to score. With the lead diminished to 9-5, Blackwood settled back in and recorded the final two outs, securing a Mud Hens win.
What’s Next: The Mud Hens continue their six game home series against the Clippers tomorrow, Friday May 21st. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.