Mud Hens top Bats in 3-2 comeback win

Toledo Mud Hens
TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Mud Hens completed a thrilling comeback to top the Louisville Bats 3-2 on Saturday night at Fifth Third Field.

Right-hander Wily Peralta made his first start since May 30 for the Mud Hens. He has not allowed more than one run in his last three starts and Saturday was no different, as he gave Toledo three solid innings before turning it over to the bullpen.

Peralta found himself in some trouble in the first two innings after allowing leadoff doubles in both frames. Pitching nearly exclusively from the stretch, he was able to get timely strikeouts and keep the Bats off the board as the game sat 0-0 heading into the third.

In the third inning, after yet another leadoff double, Peralta would not have the same luck. A base hit to right scored the first run of the game and the Bats took a 1-0 lead. He did go on to strike out the side, but the Hens trailed by one.

Righty Henry Martinez made his Toledo debut as he entered in the fourth inning. He had a perfect 1-2-3 inning and recorded his first triple-A strikeout as well.

The Mud Hens had their first real scoring threat in the fourth. Two walks and a hit by pitch loaded the bases for Christin Stewart. After falling behind 1-2 in the count, he popped one up that was caught by De Leon at third base. Garneau also got under one, popping it up to first, and the Mud Hens threat amounted to nothing in the end.

Martinez returned for the fifth inning and after two dazzling plays from Zack Short, completed another perfect inning out of the Hens bullpen. With the Hens still trailing by a run, Martinez looked to pitch a third scoreless inning in relief. After a leadoff walk, he bounced back with a pair of ground ball outs and a lineout to keep the Bats at bay.

Looking to keep it a one-run game, lefty Locke St. John entered in the seventh. Bats centerfielder, T.J. Friedl, hit a dribbler to first to start the inning that he beat out with good speed. Okey, the designated hitter, followed it with a double to right-center that scored Friedl from first. De Leon lined out to Robson for the first out of the inning, flipping over the lineup for Louisville. St. John took care of Lopez on two pitches, inducing a weak pop-up to first base for the second out. Lastly, Crook grounded out to Clemens at second base. St. John limited the damage, but not before the Bats were able to add an insurance run.

On the first pitch of the seventh, Stewart hit a missile down the right field line that curled foul. On a 1-2 pitch, he hit a sharp grounder to the shortstop, but Rodriguez booted it and Stewart reached safely without a throw. On the very next pitch, Dustin Garneau made them pay, sending a towering blast over the wall in left field to tie the game. The next three hitters were sent down in order, but the Mud Hens got the swing they needed when they needed it.

The Bats got a leadoff single from Smith Jr. to start the eighth. Looking to manufacture a run to take the lead, Rodriguez dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move the potential go-ahead run into scoring position with one out. St. John got Taylor to roll over an 0-2 pitch to first for the second out of the inning as Smith Jr. moved to third on the play. With the righty Bell stepping to the plate, manager Tom Prince stuck with the southpaw and the move paid off as St. John struck him out, stranding the runner at third to keep the game tied.

33 pitches in, St. John trotted out for his third inning of relief. The speedster, Friedl, started the inning with another infield hit for the Bats, his second of the game. After a failed bunt attempt, Okey flew out to left field for the first out. De Leon stepped to the plate and smoked a ball on the ground to Rodriguez at first, who made a nice play to glove it and get the only out he could at first base. Friedl moved up to second, where he would likely score on a base hit. We’ll never know though, as Lopez hit a fly ball to right for the third out of the inning.

With one out in the ninth, Garneau singled through the left side of the infield, now representing the game-winning run. After working the count, Jones walked on five pitches to move Garneau to second. Toledo elected to pinch-run Chris Proctor for Garneau, who now represented the potential game-winning run. Robson, one of the hottest hitters in the lineup, fell behind 0-2 in the count and chopped a ball to second base that resulted in a 4-6 fielders’ choice. Proctor moved to third, now only ninety feet away. Rodriguez struck out on a 2-2 pitch in the dirt, but the ball skipped away from the catcher and Proctor hustled home to score and win the game for Toledo.

What’s Next:

The Toledo Mud Hens host the series finale Sunday against the Louisville Bats at Fifth Third Field with first pitch scheduled for 4:05 p.m.

Hens Notes:

  • Reliever Henry Martinez made his season debut for the Mud Hens and threw three scoreless innings without allowing a hit while also striking out two.
  • Dustin Garneau hit his second home of the series in the seventh inning to tie the game.
  • JaCoby Jones recorded his fourth multi-hit game of the season with a 2-for-4 effort.
  • The Mud Hens had their largest turnout of the year with an attendance of 6,009.
  • The Mud Hens have now walked the Bats off twice this series, both games resulting in 3-2 victories.

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