Stewart’s homer backs Leiter’s strong outing 

Toledo Mud Hens
Toledo, Ohio – The Mud Hens started their six game series with the Iowa Cubs on the right foot, securing a 2-1 victory. The pitching was superb all night for the Hens, with starter Mark Leiter Jr. making one of his best starts of the season. His final line was 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, and 8 K’s. RHP Henry Martinez, LHP Robbie Ross Jr., RHP Nolan Blackwood, and RHP Wladimir Pinto all threw scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Despite only recording two hits on offense, the Mud Hens made them count with Derek Hill hitting a triple before scoring on a fielders choice and Christin Stewart hitting a towering homer to right.

RHP Mark Leiter Jr. got the start for the Hens tonight, opening the game with an impressive 1-2-3 inning after inducing three weakly hit groundouts. Derek Hill led off the game with a bang for Toledo in the bottom of the first, driving a triple down the right field wall. A walk by Victor Reyes put runners at the corners for Isaac Paredes. Paredes would manage to drive in Hill with a fielder’s choice.

Now leading 1-0, Leiter Jr. continued his hot start by throwing a second 1-2-3 inning, this time with a pair of strikeouts. The Hens would be limited to a two out walk to Dustin Garneau in the bottom of the second before Iowa ended the frame.

Leiter Jr. continued mowing down the Cubbies in the top of the third, striking out two more enroute to a third consecutive 1-2-3 inning. The Mud Hens would also be retired in order in the bottom half of the inning, however.

After getting two quick outs to start the fourth, Leiter Jr. found himself in some hot water. A two out double ended Leiter’s no hit bid, with back by back hit batters loading the bases for Iowa. Leiter was able to dial up his sixth strikeout of the night to end the threat and leave the bases loaded. The Hens went quietly in the bottom of the fourth, Iowa dispatching them in order.

The Cubs tied up the game in the top of the fifth, launching a leadoff homer that knotted up the game at 1-1. Momentum appeared to shift in Iowa’s favor as an infield single continued the threat before Dustin Garneau threw the runner out at second. Leiter Jr. would strike out the next two batters faced as he ended his night with eight total strikeouts. Christin Stewart led off the bottom of the fifth with one of the longest homers at Fifth Third Field this season, sending a monster moon shot to the top of a nearby building in right.

With the Hens now leading 2-1, RHP Henry Martinez took over for Leiter Jr. in the top of the sixth, surrendering a walk and single in a scoreless appearance. Victor Reyes led off the bottom of the inning with a walk before being erased on a double play ball.

LHP Robbie Ross Jr. relieved Martinez in the top of the seventh, giving up a pair of singles in an otherwise scoreless inning. The Hens would be limited to a Yariel Gonzalez walk in the bottom of the inning.

RHP Nolan Blackwood came on to pitch the top of the eighth for Toledo, striking out the side. Runs continued to be at a premium in the bottom of the inning as the Hens were sent down in order.

RHP Wladimir Pinto entered the game in the top of the ninth, looking to put the finishing touches on a 2-1 Mud Hens win. Pinto worked around the leadoff man reaching on an error as the Hens secured their 21st home victory.

What’s Next: The Mud Hens continue their six game homestand with the Iowa Cubs tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

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