Toledo Mud Hens DH Mike Hessman singles against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish offered a succinct and accurate analysis following his team’s 9-5 loss to Lehigh Valley Thursday.
“That was an ugly game,” Parrish said.
Both teams made two errors, and both starters struggled to get outs as the teams combined for nine runs in the first four innings of a sloppy, poorly played contest.
But the IronPigs bullpen retired 15 of the last 16 Hens to bat while Toledo allowed at least one run in six different innings and saw a three-game winning streak snapped as a result.
PHOTO GALLERY: IronPigs snap Hens win streak
It was a disappointing effort after the Mud Hens had won three straight tight, well-pitched contests in Indianapolis to move within a game of the .500 mark and 3½ games of first place in the International League’s West Division.
“We were hoping we would play a good game — that doesn’t mean you’re going to win, but at least we wanted to play a competitive game,” Parrish said. “I don’t think we did anything well.”
The Toledo pitching staff was the most obvious problem area as Kyle Lobstein gave up seven hits and five runs in four innings, while relievers Chad Smith (two runs), Jose Ortega (one run), and Evan Reed (one run) also surrendered runs.
“Our pitchers didn’t locate from the get-go,” Parrish said. “We threw a ton of balls up in the zone, and our breaking balls didn’t have any depth — you couldn’t tell they were breaking balls.
“I thought there were a bunch of pitches that they could have killed, but they didn’t.”
Lehigh Valley roughed up Lobstein for three hits and two runs in the top of the first, but Toledo bounced back for a run in the bottom of the first. The problem was the Hens loaded the bases with none out yet only scored once, on Mike Hessman’s fielder’s choice.
In the second the Hens again loaded the bases, this time with one out, but failed to score.
“We had the bases loaded in two different innings, and we only scored one run,” Parrish said. “Offensively, we had a ton of chances to score a lot early.”
Lehigh Valley’s Freddy Galvis hit a home run in the third, his second of the year, but the Hens retook the lead with three unearned runs on a two-out rally that included run-scoring singles by Danny Worth and Daniel Fields.
Lehigh Valley retied the game with a run in the fourth on a two-out RBI single by Cesar Hernandez, but Toledo again reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the inning thanks to an IronPigs error.
Lehigh Valley took command of the game in the fifth by sending nine men to the plate and scoring three times on five hits. The IronPigs added a run in the sixth on a long home run by Maikel Franco off Ortega, then closed the scoring with a run in the eighth on Franco’s run-scoring single.
Ben Guez and Fields led the Toledo offense with two hits apiece.
NOTES: OF Andy Dirks joined the Mud Hens on Thursday on a rehab assignment but did not play because of a hamstring injury. … RHP Jim Johnson, who was signed by the Tigers as a free agent after he was released by Oakland, is expected to join the Hens today. Parrish said Johnson will throw one inning today and Sunday, then take two days off before pitching two innings on Wednesday.
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.