TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Mud Hens moved into a tie for first place in the Midwest Division standings with a 6-3 series-clinching victory over the Omaha Storm Chasers on Sunday at Fifth Third Field.
The result marks the first time the Mud Hens have held at least a share of the division lead since owning a 2-0 record when play ended on May 6.
The Mud Hens and Storm Chasers, who boast identical 44-32 records, have seven more head-to-head meetings at Werner Park in Papillion, Neb., from Aug. 31-Sept. 5.
JaCoby Jones finished 3-for-4 with a trio of singles and three RBI, while Jacob Robson ended the afternoon 2-for-3 with a two-RBI double, a walk and a pair of runs. Kody Clemens went 2-for-4 with two singles, an RBI and a run, while Yariel Gonzalez was 2-for-4 with two singles and a couple runs.
Wladimir Pinto recorded three strikeouts in as many innings of work to begin the game, surrendering an unearned run on a hit and a pair of walks. Angel De Jesus and Robbie Ross Jr. each added a scoreless inning of relief before Miguel Del Pozo threw 1.2 shutout frames to help secure the series win.
Omaha started the scoring with an unearned run in the top of the opening frame. After picking up a walk to lead off the contest, Rudy Martin was able to advance all the way to third on Pinto’s errant pickoff attempt. Two batters later, Nick Pratto lifted a sacrifice fly to deep right that brought home Martin and gave the visitors an early edge.
The Mud Hens grabbed their first lead of the afternoon with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. Gonzalez pulled a leadoff single into right and advanced to second when Robson reached on a bunt single toward the left side of the infield. A wild pitch placed both runners into scoring position before Jones lined a two-run single off the left-field wall.
The Storm Chasers answered with a run in the top of the fifth inning to restore parity. With the bases loaded and one out, Pratto grounded into a fielder’s choice to second that allowed Angelo Castellano to score.
The Mud Hens quickly jumped back in front with a four-spot in the bottom of the same stanza. Juan Centeno sliced a leadoff double into left past a diving Martin, advanced to third on a Niko Goodrum flyout and scored when Clemens grounded a base hit to right.
With Toledo ahead by a 3-2 count, Gonzalez kept the line moving with a single into left-center that put men on first and second with two outs. Robson then brought both runners home when he lifted a double off the wall in left, scoring three pitches later as Jones hit an RBI single into shallow center that extended the lead to 6-2.
Omaha added a consolation run during its final trip to the plate. Martin whacked a two-out double to the gap in right-center, scoring Castellano and cutting Toledo’s advantage to 6-3.
The Mud Hens will play their next 13 contests away from Fifth Third Field, beginning on Tuesday when they start a seven-game set against the Nashville Sounds. First pitch from First Horizon Park is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EDT.
• The Mud Hens have won six consecutive home series, and are a perfect 6-0 on Sunday home games this season.
• Winners in three straight, Toledo is 22-7 within the friendly confines of Fifth Third Field since June 9.
• Alex Lange was credited with his first Triple-A win of the season despite surrendering the game-tying run in the top of the fifth. In all, Lange surrendered one earned run on two hits and a walk in his lone inning of relief.
• With a one-out single in the top of the first inning, Kody Clemens extended his hitting streak to eight consecutive games.