The story in a nutshell -- or is that an egg shell? -- of the Mud Hens' 4-2 win over Louisville at Fifth Third Field on Sunday, June 26, 2011 ...
Click here to read the in-game blog for the contest.TWITTER POST: Hens snap 9-game losing streak & 5-game loss streak at Fifth Third w/ 4-2 win over Louisville behind Below, bullpen and productive offense
Mud Hens 3rd: With Travis Wood pitching, the Mud Hens get four straight singles by Jeff Salazar, Argenis Diaz, Will Rhymes and Danny Worth to score twice. Rhymes' single scored Salazar and Worth's hit scored Diaz. Mud Hens 2, Louisville 0.
Louisville 6th: With Duane Below pitching, Dave Sappelt singled with two outs, then moved to third on a double by Jeremy Hermida. Devin Mesoraco then hit a two-run single to left. Mud Hens 3, Louisville 2.
Mud Hens 6th: With David Johnson pitching, Ben Guez doubled with one out, then scored on a single to center by Clete Thomas. Mud Hens 4, Louisville 2.
KING OF THE ROOST: There were a lot of heroes in this victory. LHP Duane Below had a strong start, allowing just four hits and two runs in six innings. The bullpen was strong, as RHPs Brendan Wise and Lester Oliveros combined to allow just one hit and two walks in three scoreless innings. Offensively, Argenis Diaz had two hits and scored twice, while Will Rhymes had two hits and two RBIs. So many to choose ... so let's give it to the entire team for snapping the nine-game losing streak.
PLAY OF THE GAME: The Mud Hens led throughout the game, but Louisville put together its best challenge in the sixth. Duane Below gave up two runs to make the score 3-2, then walked a batter to push the tying run to second base and put the go-ahead run on first with two outs. But Below got the Bats' Juan Francisco to ground out to first to end the threat, and Louisville never got a runner past first the rest of the game.
THE WEB GEM: Right fielder Clete Thomas made a nice running catch running towards the fence in the right-field corner on a hard-hit ball by Jeremy Hermida in the fourth. The catch prevented a extra-base hit; what's more, it followed a leadoff walk, so it snuffed a potential rally by the Bats. Toledo had just scored the previous half-inning, so this "shutdown" inning was important for a team looking to snap a long losing streak.
THE NUMBERS GAME: Mud Hens started Duane Below looked to be in for a short night when he needed 28 pitches to complete the first. But he threw just 12 pitches in the second and had two other economical innings -- a nine-pitch third and a seven-pitch fifth -- to help him cover six frames.
THE HIDDEN GAME: Leading off the ninth, Juan Francisco hit a long fly ball to deep right -- off the bat, I thought it was a home run. So did Francisco, who watched it at home plate before beginning a slow jog to first. One problem: Francisco and I were both wrong. The ball bounced high off the fence right to Clete Thomas, who rifled it back to second base. Francisco was stuck with a single, and when the next batter, Chris Valaika, hit a grounder to second, Francisco was the first out of a double play. Now, I know Francisco only goes to third on the groundout, and he wasn't the tying run. But let's say he runs out of the box and makes it to second: that puts some pressure on a Toledo team that has lost its last nine games ... in short, you just don't know how the game plays out if Francisco runs out of the box. Today's lesson: DO NOT STAND AT HOME PLATE ADMIRING HOME RUNS. Thanks, I feel better now.
TRANSACTION LOG: None.
NEXT HOME GAME: The Mud Hens finish their four-game home series with Louisville on Monday, June 27, with first pitch set for noon.