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Mud Hens come out flat in drubbing by Gwinnett

04/27/2014, 12:00am EDT
By JOHN WAGNER BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Braves jump out to 4-0 lead in the first inning


Gwinnett’s Derrick Mitchell steals second base as Mud Hens shortstop Hernan Perez takes the throw in the fourth inning. Toledo dropped to 9-14 on the season. They will host Gwinnett again today. BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH

The Mud Hens didn’t get any “juice” from their walk-off victory Friday.

In fact, Toledo seemed flat Saturday and suffered a 10-4 loss to Gwinnett at Fifth Third Field.

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The Hens fell behind 4-0 before they even came to bat, and trailed 10-0 before scoring their first run in losing for the fourth time in the last six games.

“Everyone in this clubhouse is trying," said Hens third baseman Mike Hessman, who doubled twice and had two RBIs. “We put up a good comeback against Indianapolis, but in those situations where we couldn’t push anything across [against Gwinnett], it hurt us.

“If we could have pushed something across, it could have changed the whole game.”

Toledo starter Kyle Lobstein struggled in the opening inning, walking the first batter he faced and allowing four hits that turned into four runs. The biggest hit in that first-inning rally was a two-out, two-run double off the wall in left by Sean Kazmar.

In the third the Braves scored a run on a two-out double steal by Joey Terdoslavich and Todd Cunningham, then added two runs in the fourth.

Lobstein allowed nine hits and seven runs in four innings; his ERA rose to 7.84, and International League batters are hitting .352 against him.

“A lot of his pitches are really flat,” Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. “We talked about [Robbie] Ray having a good ‘angle’ on his pitches, and [Lobstein] is the exact opposite.

“Even if their batters were ‘tricked’ by a pitch, they seemed to get the ball to the outfield. He’s out of whack right now.”

Despite falling behind 4-0 in the first, Toledo had a chance to climb back into the game in the second when Gwinnett starter Cody Martin walked Hessman, James McCann, and Tyler Collins to load the bases with none out.

But Martin struck out Luis Exposito, Jordan Lennerton, and Marcus Lemon to wiggle out of trouble.

“We really needed to score there to keep the momentum going,” Parrish said. “The air went out of our balloon there.

“And they didn’t even have to make a play.”

Martin did not allow a hit until Ezequiel Carrera singled with two outs in the fifth, and he finished with 10 strikeouts.

“He threw a lot of off-speed pitches, and we almost got defensive up there,” Parrish said. “When he did throw a fastball, we were late.

“We weren’t ready to hit. We were late on the fastball and weren’t ready for the breaking ball.”

Nate Robertson gave up three runs in the sixth as Gwinnett took advantage of a leadoff walk, two hits, and an error.

But Hessman said a bright spot for Toledo was that, instead of going through the motions, the Hens offense put up two runs in the sixth on back-to-back two-out RBI doubles by Exposito and Lennerton, then two more in the ninth on a Hessman double.

“You can look at the rest of the game: Guys weren’t throwing their at-bats away, and we ended up scoring some runs,” Hessman said. “That’s what you ask when you get behind by a big number. You can’t just shut it down. You have to keep having quality at-bats and not throw them away.”

NOTES: Daniel Fields did not play after getting hit on the hand by a pitch Friday. His status remains day-to-day. ... Detroit was expected to send RHP Justin Miller to Toledo, but Miller instead will remain with the Tigers after Anibal Sanchez was placed on the disabled list. RHP Jose Ortega is expected to return to the Hens today, putting their roster at 25.

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

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