Hens launch trio of homers to sink Clippers

Toledo Mud Hens
Toledo, Ohio – The Mud Hens claimed a 7-4 victory over the Columbus Clippers this afternoon, pushing the team eleven games over .500 in their pursuit of a divisional title. Juan Centeno, Christin Stewart, and Aderlin Rodriguez all homered in the contest while Yariel Gonzalez hit a double in a multi-hit effort. Despite starter Drew Hutchison only pitching 1.2 innings for reasons unknown, RHP Wladimir Pinto, RHP Nivaldo Rodriguez, RHP Jason Foley, RHP Alex Lange, and LHP Miguel Del Pozo carried the team the rest of the way.

The Hens went quietly in the top of the first, their only baserunner coming on an Aderlin Rodriguez two out single. RHP Drew Hutchison got the start for Toledo, allowing only a two out walk in a scoreless inning.

The Mud Hens took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second as JaCoby Jones, who walked in the previous at bat, came in to score on a Juan Centeno home run. Hutchison allowed a two out walk in the bottom of the second, which ended his day of work early. The move to the bullpen was odd considering that Hutch is currently fourth in the league in innings pitched, never previously showing signs of pitch limit, and the substitution did appear to be injury related. Regardless, RHP Wladimir Pinto entered the game and got the inning’s final out.

The Hens were retired in order for the first time in the top of the third inning, as the score remained 2-0. RHP Nivaldo Rodriguez took over for Pinto in the third, giving up a leadoff double as Columbus secured their first hit of the game. A walk continued the scoring threat for the Clippers but Rodriguez wiggled his way out of the jam, assisted by a smooth pick off at first base.

Yariel Gonzalez opened up the top of the fourth with a bang, sending a double off the wall in left. Walks by Jacob Robson and JaCoby Jones loaded the bases for Cole Peterson. Peterson reached on an infield single, scoring Gonzalez and extending the Hens lead 3-0. Nivaldo Rodriguez continued to pitch into the bottom fourth, with the Clippers continuing to threaten. A double and walk put the tying run at the plate for Columbus but Rodriguez successfully navigated the threat.

The Mud Hens put two runners on in the fifth as Aderlin Rodriguez was hit by a pitch and Yariel Gonzalez singled. Neither run would come in to score however, keeping the score 3-0 in favor of Toledo. A two out walk later came back to haunt Nivaldo Rodriguez in the bottom of the inning as a home run to right reduced the Hens lead to 3-2.

The Hens were quick to rebuild their lead in the sixth inning as a two out rally initiated by a Cole Peterson walk resulted in a Daz Cameron double and Kody Clemens RBI single. Now leading 5-2, RHP Jason Foley entered the game in relief of Nivaldo Rodriguez, pitching a quick 1-2-3 inning.

Christin Stewart led off the seventh with a long homer to center field, extending the lead to 6-2 for Toledo. Foley continued to pitch in the bottom of the seventh, running into much more resistance this time around. Columbus battled back again, scoring a pair after a double capitalized on a bases loaded jam.

Their lead cut down to two, the Hens were retired in order in the eighth as the Columbus bullpen worked a quick inning. RHP Alex Lange took over for Foley on the mound, working around a leadoff single in a scoreless frame.

Aderlin Rodriguez claimed the team lead in homers in the top of the ninth, breaking a 20-20 tie with Renato Nunez with blast number 21. With the Hens lead now extended to 7-4, LHP Miguel Del Pozo entered the game to shut the door on the Clippers comeback hopes. Del Pozo would do just that, earning his fourth save of the season in a scoreless appearance.

What’s Next: The Toledo Mud Hens take on the Clippers again tomorrow in game three of a six game series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

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