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Mud Hens hit to splitsville

04/09/2014, 12:24am EDT
By JOHN WAGNER BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Hitting saves Hens to win nightcap of doubleheader

Mud Hens hit to splitsville
Mike Hessman rounds third after homer

Mud Hen Mike Hessman rounds third base after hitting a home run against Indianapolis during first of two baseball games at Fifth Third Field Tuesday.

The Mud Hens pitching, which had been extremely effective in the team’s first three games this season, struggled in Tuesday’s doubleheader against Indianapolis.

In the first game Toledo wasn’t able to score enough runs to overcome its pitching problems and lost 6-4. In the second contest the Hens scored runs in each of the first five innings and hung on to claim an 8-6 victory.

PHOTO GALLERY: Mud Hens doubleheader in pictures

The Hens fell behind quickly in the first game as Indianapolis scored three times in the opening inning off Toledo starter Derek Hankins. With two outs Gregory Polanco singled, then stole second before taking third on a throwing error by Hens catcher James McCann.

Polanco trotted home on a triple high off the right-field wall by Andrew Lambo, and Lambo scored on Brent Morel’s home run to left.

Hankins gave up a lot of hard-hit outs, but he kept the Indians off the board until the fifth, when Carlos Paulino beat out a bunt single and Blake Davis lined a 2-0 pitch over the fence in right for a two-run homer.

Trailing 6-0, the Mud Hens made things close with a pair of longballs in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs Ezequiel Carrera singled, then moved to second when Indianapolis starter Phil Irwin walked Hernan Perez.

J.D. Martinez followed with an opposite-field drive to right for a three-run home run, his first of the season.

Mike Hessman then hammered Irwin’s next pitch off the scoreboard in left, just missing his face on the screen, for back-to-back home runs.

Toledo did not score again, while Indianapolis added an insurance run in the sixth. With two outs Chris McGuiness hit a fly to deep right that Ben Guez wasn’t able to catch and was ruled a triple; when Danny Worth tried to throw McGuiness out at third, the ball flew into the Hens dugout for an error that scored McGuiness.

The start of the second game was nearly a carbon-copy of the first as Indianapolis scored three times off Toledo starter Blaine Hardy. The Indians’ Chase d’Arnaud opened the game with a double into the left-center gap, then stole third before scoring when the throw to third by Hens catcher Luis Exposito was wild.

Hardy got two outs before Morel and Lambo singled in front of a two-run triple by Matt Hague.

The Mud Hens got one run back in the first when Worth singled, then scored from first base on a double by Martinez. In the second Toledo took advantage of the wildness of Indianapolis starter Jay Jackson to tie the game at 3-3.

Jackson walked Jordan Lennerton and Marcus Lemon, and with two outs Carrera tripled into the right-field corner to drive both home.

The Indians retook the lead in the third on an RBI double by Lambo and a two-out run-scoring single by Nevin Ashley, but the Hens managed to retie the game in the bottom of the inning.

Martinez singled, and with two outs Exposito and Lennerton drew walks to load the bases before Brandon Douglas singled in two runs.

Toledo took the lead with two more runs in the fourth, and Carrera again played a key role. He walked, moved to second on a single by Worth, and the pair executed a double-steal to put runners on second and third with two outs for Daniel Fields, who lined a two-run double into the gap in left-center.

Indianapolis inched a run closer in the fifth with a two-out RBI single by Ashley, but the Mud Hens took advantage of two Indy errors to get that run back.

The run scored when Lemon, who had walked and moved to second on an error, raced home from second when Carrera was safe at first thanks to a throwing error by Morel at third.

Despite allowing 12 hits in the second game, the Hens bullpen made that stand up as Jose Ortega didn’t allow a run in 1 2/​3 innings and Justin Miller retired the Indians in the ninth to claim his first save of the season. Mike Belfiore got the win.

Worth and Martinez led the offense in the doubleheader. Worth was 4-for-7 with two runs scored and a pair of stolen bases, while Martinez went 4-for-8 with four RBIs and a stolen base.

NOTES: The home runs by Martinez and Hessman in the fifth inning of the first game were the first back-to-back home runs since July 11 of last season. … The home run for Hessman was number 390 in his minor-league career, most among active minor leaguers. … The crowd was announced at 3,792 for the twinbill.

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.

Hens Hernan Perez throws out Indianapolis' Andrew Lambo

Mud Hen shortstop Hernan Perez throws out Indianapolis' Andrew Lambo on a double play.

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