Toledo Mud Hens pitcher Kyle Lobstein throws a pitch against the Norfolk Tides. THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
Kyle Lobstein picked a good game to pitch a good game.
The Mud Hens starter limited Norfolk to one run in seven solid innings Friday as Toledo knocked off the Tides 5-2 at Fifth Third Field.
“What a good time for him to pitch well,” Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. “After playing 11 innings the night before, we were short unless we used someone who pitched Thursday. …
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“That was a great outing by Lobstein.”
The 24-year-old left-hander scattered 10 hits and allowed only one run to cover seven innings and pitch Toledo to its second win in as many nights.
“After [Thursday’s] game, guys were kidding me and saying, ‘Well, you’ve got nine innings,’” Lobstein said. “But I didn’t think about it at all. In the moment, it doesn’t have any bearing on what you’re doing. So you have to kick it out of your mind and worry about what is at hand.”
Lobstein’s start was far from perfect: He allowed at least one Norfolk hit in every inning but the fourth, and the Tides put two on base in four different innings against him.
All 10 hits were singles, and only one came with a runner in scoring position as 12 of the 21 outs Lobstein recorded came on ground balls.
“I thought his breaking ball was better,” Parrish said. “And even though they got a bunch of hits, he made pitches when he had to.
“They’ve been getting a lot of extra-base hits and bunching hits. Kyle limited them to singles and never let them bunch the hits.”
What also helped Lobstein hold Norfolk in check was his ability to start each inning by getting outs. In four of the first five innings he threw, Lobstein got the first two outs of the inning before allowing a baserunner.
“When you give up a hit with two outs, you can try to get the next out any way you can,” Lobstein said. “You’re not pressing for a ground ball or a strikeout.”
The only bump in the road for Lobstein came in the fifth, when the Tides scored thanks to a two-out RBI single by Steve Clevenger. Otherwise the southpaw put together a strong effort after allowing 18 hits over nine innings in his previous two starts.
“My last couple of starts have been rough because my mechanics haven’t been as fine-tuned as I would like them to be,” Lobstein said. “But my mechanics were better, and that allowed me to throw more quality strikes.”
Meanwhile, the Toledo offense took advantage of Norfolk mistakes to score single runs in the third and fourth before exploding in a three-run fifth.
In the third inning, Hernan Perez singled and stole second before Brandon Douglas drew a walk. James McCann hit a grounder to shortstop, but a hard slide by Douglas forced Tides second baseman Jimmy Paredes to throw the relay to first into the Tides dugout, allowing Perez to score.
In the fourth, Tyler Collins tripled with one out, then came home when Norfolk first baseman Christian Walker misplayed Daniel Fields’ two-out grounder.
“They helped us out with a couple of miscues,” Parrish said.
In the fifth, Perez, who had three hits in the contest, beat out an infield single and Douglas again walked. Both runners moved up a base on a long flyout by McCann, but Manny Pina struck out.
Ben Guez kept the rally alive with a two-run double into the left-field corner, and Collins followed with a run-scoring single.
“That hit by Ben Guez was really a big hit,” Parrish said. “We had left a runner at third with less than two outs, but his hit made it 4-1.”
Toledo reliever Melvin Mercedes got a double play and a strikeout to bail Lobstein out of trouble in the eighth. Mercedes gave up a one-out single in the ninth, and Ian Krol surrendered two singles and a run before getting the game’s final out.
NOTES: McCann singled in the first inning to extend his current hit streak to six games. … Toledo begins a four-game series in Indianapolis today before coming home to play 10 games in 11 days starting Thursday. … Friday’s crowd of 9,836 was the Mud Hens’ 20th sellout this season and the 381st in the 12-year history of Fifth Third Field.