Núñez hits grand slam, but Hens fall in 10 innings

Toledo Mud Hens
PAPILLION, Neb.Renato Núñez belted his second grand slam of the season on Tuesday, but the Toledo Mud Hens were left stunned as the Omaha Storm Chasers rallied to steal a 7-5, 10-inning victory at Werner Park.

The Mud Hens (30-24) held a 5-1 lead with one out in the bottom of the eighth, but Omaha (35-19) designated hitter Anderson Miller whacked a solo shot to right that cut the home side’s deficit to three. One inning later, Erick Mejia reached on a fielder’s choice and Edward Olivares drew a walk, before Ryan McBroom evened the score with a three-run drive to left for his league-best 17th home run of the campaign.

Cole Peterson started the top of the 10th inning on second base in relief of Grayson Greiner and was joined on the basepaths by Christin Stewart following the latter’s pinch-hit leadoff walk, but Toledo was unable to reclaim the lead. Omaha was quick to capitalize in the bottom of the same stanza, as Miller hit his second home run of the night to dead center to complete the Storm Chasers’ comeback bid.

Núñez, who ranks second among Mud Hens batsmen with 13 home runs, finished 2-for-5 with a grand slam, a single and a walk in the series opener, while Aderlin Rodríguez ended the night 2-for-5 with two singles. Isaac Paredes reached base four times, going 1-for-3 with a solo homer, three walks and two runs, while Niko Goodrum went 1-for-3 with a single, a pair of walks and a run.

Mark Leiter Jr. notched five strikeouts in four innings of work, surrendering an earned run on three hits, a trio of walks and a HBP. From there, Derek Holland and Alex Lange each tossed one scoreless inning of relief to begin their respective rehab assignments, but the back end of the Hen Pen couldn’t fend off the Storm Chasers as Robbie Ross Jr. was tagged with the loss.

Omaha started the scoring with a run in the bottom of the second inning. After Kyle Isbel reached on a fielder’s choice, Miller drew a walk and Nick Dini grounded an infield single to second baseman Kody Clemens to load the bases with two outs. The next batter, Rudy Martin, was hit in the back with a pitch, which allowed Isbel to advance 90 feet and gave the Storm Chasers a 1-0 lead.

The Mud Hens quickly responded with a four-spot in the top of the third. Victor Reyes, Paredes and Goodrum drew back-to-back-to-back walks to lead off the frame, before Núñez cleared the bases with a no-doubter to left field for his second round-tripper in as many games.

Toledo added to its lead in the top of the fifth, as Paredes opened the inning with a home run that sailed beyond the left-field bleachers. The Storm Chasers loaded the bases with one down in the bottom of the same inning, but were held scoreless as Holland recovered to strike out Cancel and Miller. However, the Mud Hens would fall victim to a late rally capped by a walk-off home run just two nights after JaCoby Jones hit a game-ending two-run shot to defeat Columbus.

What’s Next:
The Mud Hens and Storm Chasers will resume their six-game series on Wednesday at Werner Park. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EDT.

Hens Notes:
Renato Núñez and Aderlin Rodríguez are the only two hitters in the Triple-A East to hit a pair of grand slams this season. They are the first Toledo duo to hit two grand slams in a single season since Mike Hessman and Jefry Marté did the same in 2015.
• The Mud Hens are 1-2 in games decided in extra innings.
• Toledo left a season-high 15 men on base. For its part, Omaha stranded 10 baserunners.
• The Mud Hens drew a season-high 11 walks in Tuesday’s game.
Renato Núñez leads Toledo with 40 RBIs this season, surpassing Aderlin Rodríguez’s total of 39.
• The Mud Hens and Storm Chasers faced each other for the first time since the 1991 campaign, when the latter was known as the Omaha Royals. In all, Toledo and Omaha played 21 times from 1988-91 in interleague play between the International League and the American Association as part of the Triple-A Alliance.

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