TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Mud Hens clinched the inaugural Triple-A East Midwest Division title with a 5-1 victory over the Columbus Clippers on Thursday at Fifth Third Field.
The win gives the Mud Hens (69-48) their seventh division championship since joining the International League in 1965, and first since capturing the IL’s West Division title in 2018. In all, Toledo has claimed six divisional crowns in 19 seasons at Fifth Third Field. Fans can celebrate the Mud Hens division championship with the official “locker room” t-shirt, the same shirt given to Mud Hens players and coaches after they clinch the division title.
Mark Leiter Jr. earned his seventh win of the season after notching 11 strikeouts in seven innings of work, scattering one earned run on four hits and a walk. He becomes the first Toledo pitcher to record 10 or more strikeouts in consecutive starts since Casey Fossum accomplished the feat in three straight outings from May 18-29, 2008. From there, Henry Martinez pitched two scoreless innings of relief to wrap up the contest.
Isaac Paredes homered for the second time in as many nights, going 1-for-3 with a solo shot and a walk. Aderlin Rodríguez also left the yard in back-to-back games as he finished 2-for-4 with a two-run blast, while Ryan Kreidler ended the night 1-for-3 with an RBI double and a walk.
The Mud Hens jumped in front with three runs in the bottom of the second stanza. Paredes opened the scoring with a leadoff homer to stake the hosts to a 1-0 lead. Kody Clemens then drew a walk, stole second base, advanced to third on a Zack Short groundout and came home when Kreidler smashed a two-out double off the left-field wall to double Toledo’s advantage. After Brady Policelli kept the line moving with a walk, Daz Cameron grounded a base hit into left-center to drive in Kreidler and make it a 3-0 ballgame.
Toledo needed one swing of the bat to add a pair of runs an inning later. Paredes reached base on a one-out walk, and eventually scored when Rodríguez pulled a two-run shot over the videoboard in left for his team-best 27th home run of the campaign.
Columbus (53-62) registered its only run in the top of the fifth. Will Benson drew a leadoff walk before Andruw Monasterio singled through the left side to put runners on first and second with nobody down. Three batters later, Alex Call lined a double into the left-field corner to plate Benson and cut the deficit to 5-1, which proved to be the final tally.
The Mud Hens can earn at least a series split on Friday with another victory against the Clippers at Fifth Third Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.