TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Mud Hens scored nine times in the bottom of the seventh inning to erase a late deficit and earn a series-clinching 12-5 victory over the Columbus Clippers on Sunday at Fifth Third Field.
With the Mud Hens (7-10) trailing 5-1 entering the bottom of the seventh, Zack Short and Daniel Pinero started the home half with back-to-back walks to put runners on first and second. Juan Centeno promptly doubled off the center-field wall to drive in Short, before Derek Hill singled into shallow right to score Pinero and cut the deficit to 5-3. Victor Reyes was then plunked to load the bases, prompting the Clippers (8-9) to replace Manuel Alvarez with former Toledo starter Kyle Dowdy.
Dowdy fanned Isaac Paredes and Christin Stewart to begin his relief appearance, but the Mud Hens reclaimed the lead for good when Aderlin Rodriguez crushed a 3-2 pitch on to Monroe Street to give the hosts a 7-5 edge. The inning continued as Yariel Gonzalez and Short hit consecutive singles to end Dowdy’s outing, and Toledo extended its lead when Pinero introduced himself to Columbus reliever Jordan Stephens with a three-run homer down the left-field line to make it a 10-5 ballgame.
The Mud Hens tacked on a pair of insurance runs an inning later. Hill grounded a leadoff single up the middle, stole second and eventually scored when Paredes whacked his first home run in a Toledo uniform into left to open up a 12-5 cushion.
Rodriguez finished 2-for-5 with a grand slam, while Pinero went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer, a walk and two runs. Centeno ended the afternoon 2-for-4 with a RBI double and a run, while Hill went 2-for-5 with an RBI single and three runs, and Paredes was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer and an RBI double. Although Reyes had his 11-game hitting streak snapped in the series finale, he reached base twice with a first-inning walk and a HBP as part of the massive seventh-inning rally.
Drew Hutchison tallied a season-high nine strikeouts in five innings of work, allowing one earned run on four hits and a pair of walks. Despite surrendering four earned runs in the top of the seventh, Beau Burrows was credited with the win, while Alex Lange, Wladimir Pinto and Buck Farmer each tossed one scoreless frame out of the Hen Pen.
The Mud Hens faced a serious jam to start the contest, as Oscar Mercado drew a leadoff walk before Andrés Giménez doubled into right to put runners on second and third with nobody down. However, Hutchison responded by striking out the next two batters he faced, before inducing a 1-3 groundout from Gabriel Arias to keep the Clippers off the scoresheet.
Toledo broke through with a run in the last of the third. Centeno lined an opposite-field single into left, but was forced out on Hill’s fielder’s choice to second. After Reyes struck out swinging, Paredes smacked a two-out double off the wall in center to drive in Hill and stake the hosts to a 1-0 lead.
Columbus eventually managed to pull even with a run in the top of the fifth. Ryan Lavarnway reached on a leadoff walk, and scored from first when Giménez pulled a two-out double off the right-field fence.
The bottom of the Clippers’ order helped the visitors post a four-spot in the top of the seventh. Nolan Jones and Lavarnway clubbed back-to-back doubles to give Columbus a 2-1 advantage, while Connor Marabell added hit a two-run homer to stretch the lead to 4-1. Three batters later, Daniel Johnson added a solo shot to right to put Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate ahead by a 5-1 margin heading into the seventh-inning stretch.
The Mud Hens will begin a 12-game road trip as they kick off a six-game series against the Louisville Bats on Tuesday, May 25. First pitch from Louisville Slugger Field is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
• The Mud Hens scored a season-high 12 runs in the series finale. Nine runs are the most Toledo has produced in a single inning this season.
• Drew Hutchison’s nine strikeouts are the most by a Hens pitcher this season.
• The Mud Hens have scored eight or more runs five times this season – all at Fifth Third Field.
• Aderlin Rodriguez recorded his seventh multi-hit game of the season, and has at least one hits in 11 of 12 starts this season. He is 5-for-13 with two doubles, a grand slam and nine RBI in his last three outings.