TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Mud Hens fell short in a high-scoring back-and-forth encounter on Wednesday, falling 14-12 to the Midwest Division-leading Omaha Storm Chasers at Fifth Third Field. The result puts the Mud Hens (41-31) two games behind the Storm Chasers (43-29) in their quest for the division lead.
Trailing 12-10 with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Mud Hens restored parity when Yariel Gonzalez lined a pinch-hit, two-run double into the right-field corner that plated Aderlin Rodríguez and Christin Stewart. However, Omaha took the lead for good in the top of the ninth inning as Edward Olivares pulled a two-out, two-run homer to left to give the visitors a 14-12 advantage, which held on to be the final tally.
Wednesday’s game was clocked at four hours and 33 minutes, marking the longest nine-inning contest in franchise history, and the Mud Hens’ lengthiest game in terms of playing time since dropping an 8-7, 15-inning matchup at Lehigh Valley on May 19, 2016.
Every Toledo starter recorded a hit by the bottom of the fourth inning, and five ended the night with multiple hits. Rodríguez reached base four times, going 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, a trio of walks and three runs, while Jacob Robson finished 2-for-4 with an RBI double, two walks and a run. Additionally, Stewart went 1-for-4 with a two-run shot, a walk and a pair of runs.
An elevated pitch count limited Drew Hutchison to 2.2 innings of work as he surrendered four earned runs on two hits and four walks while striking out a pair. Bryan Garcia, Will Vest and Jason Foley combined to throw 3.1 scoreless innings in relief, but Robbie Ross Jr. was tagged with the loss after conceding what proved to be the decisive two-run homer in the ninth.
Omaha started the scoring with a run in the top of the second inning, but the Mud Hens were quick to answer with a four-spot in the bottom of the same stanza. Rodríguez walked on four pitches to begin the frame, and scored when Stewart lifted a two-run shot to right for the latter’s fourth home run in as many games and 13th of the campaign.
Toledo added to its 2-1 lead later in the inning on the strength of three consecutive two-out doubles. Dylan Rosa lined a double to the left-field wall, and came home when Cole Peterson pulled a two-base hit of his own into the right-field corner. Robson then doubled over the head of center fielder Kyle Isbel to drive in Peterson and make it a 4-1 ballgame.
Omaha jumped back in front with five runs in the top of the third, but Toledo restored parity during its next trip to the plate. After Kody Clemens sent a leadoff single through the right side, Rodríguez knotted the score at six apiece when he hit a sky-scraping two-run drive to left for his team-best 18th home run of the season.
The wild back-and-forth contest continued as the Storm Chasers reclaimed the lead with a pair of runs in the fourth, only for the Mud Hens responded in the home half with four of their own to seize a 10-8 advantage. With two on and nobody out, Renato Núñez singled through the left side to drive in Peterson and trim the deficit to 8-7.
After Clemens walked to load the bases, Rodríguez and Jones kept the line moving with bases-loaded walks that plated Robson and Núñez, respectively, to lift Toledo to a 9-8 edge. Juan Centeno then grounded into a fielder’s choice to third that allowed Clemens to score and extend the lead to 10-8.
The Storm Chasers pulled ahead once again in the top of the fifth inning, as Nick Pratto whacked a grand slam over the wall in right-center to give the visitors a 12-10 lead that remained intact until the bottom of the eighth.
The Mud Hens and Storm Chasers will resume their crucial six-game series on Thursday at Fifth Third Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
• The Mud Hens scored 10 or more runs for the 11th time this season.
• Christin Stewart is slashing .393/.469/1.036 with a double, a triple, five homers and 16 RBI over his last eight games.
• Aderlin Rodríguez is hitting .441/.548/.971 with four doubles, a triple, four homers and 11 RBI during his nine-game hitting streak. He now has 192 career minor-league home runs.
• Aderlin Rodríguez tallied his 13th multi-RBI game of the season, and seventh with three or more RBI.
• Yariel Gonzalez, Christin Stewart and Jacob Robson recorded their 13th, 10th and 5th multi-RBI games of the year, respectively.
• Wednesday’s game would have been the second-longest nine-inning contest in MLB history, finishing 12 minutes shy of matching the New York Yankees’ 14-11 win at Boston on August 18, 2006 which lasted four hours and 45 minutes.