Rodriguez homer not enough in loss

Toledo Mud Hens
TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Mud Hens fell 8-5 to the Omaha Storm Chasers on Thursday night at Fifth Third Field. The loss moves the Hens to three games back in the division, a gap they can still close with some weekend wins against Omaha.

The Mud Hens struck first in this one. In the bottom of the second, Jacob Robson walked and stole second. With two outs, Juan Centeno delivered a base hit to center field that scored Robson from second.

Left-hander Locke St. John got the start for the Mud Hens. He carried a 20 consecutive scoreless inning streak into the game and extended the streak to 22 innings after two scoreless to start the game. The third inning rolled around though and a double followed by a single plated the tying run for Omaha and snapped the streak at 22.1 innings. A walk loaded the bases for Nick Dini, who smacked a double off the left field wall that scored two more, giving the Storm Chasers a 3-1 lead. That was the end of the road for St. John as Angel De Jesus entered. A pop out and a ground out allowed De Jesus to strand both runners and wiggle out of the jam with the Mud Hens now trailing by two.

Toledo responded quickly in the bottom half of the inning. Kody Clemens started it with a double and Renato Nunez singled to right to score him, cutting the deficit to just one run. Aderlin Rodriguez then did what he does best, smoking a two-run homer to right-center to put the Hens in front 4-3.

In the top of the fifth inning, Nick Pratto got the green light on a 3-0 pitch and did not miss it, blasting a game-tying solo shot to start the inning. The Chasers were not done yet though. A single followed by two walks loaded the bases with no outs. On a 1-1 pitch, Angelo Castellano boomed a deep drive to left-center field for a grand slam, giving Omaha an 8-4 lead. De Jesus settled down to record outs on the next two batters, but then Alex Lange was called on to finish the inning.

Once again, the trailing team responded. Nunez doubled and then Rodriguez singled to center to score him, making it an 8-5 game with plenty of time to play.

After 1.1 scoreless innings from Lange, Nolan Blackwood entered to pitch the seventh with Toledo still chasing three. He pitched a smooth inning, allowing an infield hit but no damage while striking out one.

Blackwood gave the Mud Hens exactly what they needed – three scoreless innings out of the bullpen. As the bottom of the ninth came around though, the Hens still trailed by three.

Nunez would reach on a fielding error with two outs in the ninth, but nothing would come of it as the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth innings would feature zero total runs in an 8-5 loss for Toledo.

What’s Next:

The Toledo Mud Hens and Omaha Storm Chasers start the second half of this six-game series Friday night at Fifth Third Field with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Hens Notes:

  • INF Aderlin Rodriguez extended his hitting streak to ten games in a row with his big night.
  • RHP Nolan Blackwood tied season highs with three innings pitched and four strikeouts in his relief appearance on Thursday night.
  • INF Renato Nunez is now 7-for-19 in his last four games after his 3-for-5 night at the plate.

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