TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Mud Hens handily defeated the Memphis Redbirds on Tuesday night at Fifth Third Field by a score of 8-4.
Right-hander Drew Hutchison brought a 3-2 record with a 4.50 ERA into his ninth start of the season on Tuesday night against the Redbirds. On June 5, he started in Memphis, lasting six innings while only allowing one run.
After retiring the first six batters in order, Hutchison found himself in trouble in the third. Szczur ripped a leadoff double down the left field line and then came around to score on a single from Mendoza. Mendoza attempted to steal his eighth bag of the season, but Greiner gunned him down at second base for the first out of the inning. That would prove to be a big out because Hutch would walk two of the next three hitters, while striking out one in between. With two on and two out, Hutch did his job and got a ground ball, but Cole Peterson misplayed the ball and everyone was safe. Despite the error and two walks, a big bender was swung through by Williams to end the inning with the Redbirds out front 1-0.
The Hens answered quickly in their half of the third. Zack Short doubled to left to start the inning. With one out, Grayson Greiner singled up the middle to score Short, tying the game. Kody Clemens followed Greiner with a ground-rule double to center field, putting men at second and third. Renato Nunez joined the party, hitting a sharp ground ball single that was knocked down, but scored Greiner. Toledo wasn’t done yet though. Christin Stewart knocked a ball off the right field wall for his second double of the game and fifth in the last three games. JaCoby Jones singled for the fifth consecutive Hens hit, making it a 4-1 game. The threat would end after a double play ball, but a big inning gave the home team a three-run lead.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Redbirds got a run back in the fifth. Juan Yepez from the nine hole hit a solo shot to left field that went off the scoreboard. Hurst then reached second base after a fielding error by Aderlin Rodriguez at first base that let a ball go down the right field line. With two outs, Lane Thomas parked a ball into the picnic area beyond the left-center field wall that tied the game at four runs apiece.
The game would not stay tied for long as Greiner would hit a towering homer to left field to start the bottom of the fifth, putting the Mud Hens in front 5-4. Nunez and Stewart both walked to put two on. A wild pitch allowed them both to advance and Rodriguez delivered with a base hit to left, scoring Nunez.
Righty Erasmo Ramirez took over in the sixth for Hutchison. Hutchison’s final line stood five innings, four hits, four runs, two walks, and three strikeouts. Ramirez had a smooth nine-pitch 1-2-3 inning, including one strikeout.
Holding a two-run lead, the Mud Hens offense was not yet content. In the bottom of the sixth, Short and Robson hit back-to-back homers on consecutive pitches to make it an 8-4 game.
After two perfect relief innings from Ramirez, southpaw Miguel Del Pozo took over in the eighth for Toledo. He too threw a flawless frame, striking out two.
In the eighth, Short and Robson walked while Greiner singled to load the bases with nobody out; however, Yariel Gonzalez grounded into a 3-2-3 double play and Nunez lined out as the Redbirds escaped the inning with no damage done.
Looking to nail it down, Del Pozo returned for the ninth. He issued a one-out walk, but ultimately shut the door on Memphis as Toledo took game one of the series.
The Toledo Mud Hens and Memphis Redbirds play game two of the series Wednesday night at Fifth Third Field with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
- Renato Nunez singled in the third inning to extend his hitting streak to a team-high eight games.
- Christin Stewart went 2-for-3 with two doubles and a walk, giving him five doubles in his last three games.
- Grayson Greiner hit his first home run of the season in a Mud Hens uniform as part of a three-hit night.
- Zack Short reached base four times, two times via the walk while also homering and doubling.
- Ramirez and Del Pozo would combine to record four no-hit innings in relief, including seven strikeouts.
- This marked the Mud Hens sixth straight home win, their longest home win streak of the season.