Lehigh Valley IronPigs (36-33) at Toledo Mud Hens (30-41)
First pitch: 7 p.m.
Radio: 1230 AM, WCWA. Click here to listen on the Internet.Gameday: Click here to follow the contest pitch-by-pitch.
LEHIGH VALLEY: Leading off and playing CF is Jermaine Mitchell, followed by Cesar Hernandez in 2B, Cody Asche at 3B, Darin Ruf in LF, Cody Overbeck at DH, Josh Fields at 1B, Leandro Castro in RF, Cameron Rupp at C, Pete Orr at SS and RHP Tyler Cloyd as the starting pitcher.
MUD HENS: Leading off and playing CF is Kevin Russo, followed by Danny Worth at SS, Jordan Lennerton at 1B, Nick Castellanos at LF, Danny Dorn at DH, Mike Cervenak at 3B, Ben Guez in RF, Brad Davis at C, Argenis Diaz at 2B and LHP Casey Crosby as the starting pitcher.
- No question from Hens manager Phil Nevin that Robbie Weinhardt was the star of the game for Toledo. Weinhardt's 5.2 innings were almost double his previous longest outing for the Mud Hens. He gave up five runs, but three were unearned after the error in the fourth and the other two came on a two-run homer on the 74th and final pitch he threw (almost 20 pitches more than previous high). Simply put, Weinhardt saved the bullpen AND gave the Hens the chance to win.
- Speaking of winning, the Mud Hens now have won seven in a row. Toledo improves to 13-3 in the month of June, the best mark in the International League. That is nearly double the team's April win total (7-20) and more wins than in 30 games in May (11-19).
- Mud Hens 3B Mike Cervenak finished with three hits in four at-bats. Cervenak finished only a triple short of the cycle and had two runs scored and two RBIs. Cervenak now has hit .327 in 13 games since joining the Hens.
- The word in the Mud Hens clubhouse was cautious optimism for the Casey Crosby injury. According to manager Phil Nevin, Crosby twisted his left knee (his push-off knee) when he landed wrong on his first warm-up pitch in the second. The team will know more Tuesday when Crosby comes to the park, but the feeling was that the injury was not serious.
- No word after the game on who would pick up the start Wednesday for Toledo versus Lehigh Valley. The Hens' scheduled starter, Jose Alvarez, will not make that start and instead will be promoted to Detroit to start against the Red Sox on Thursday.
Bruce Rondon nails down the save with a 1-2-3 inning that included two strikeouts. The Mud Hens now have won seven in a row and are 13-3 in June. Heading to the clubhouse ... thanks for following along!
Toledo gets a leadoff double by Kevin Russo, who moved to third on a ground ball by Danny Worth -- Lehigh Valley shortstop Pete Orr foolishly tried to throw Russo out at third. But the Hens didn't score as Worth was caught stealing, and the next two batters were retired. We'll see Bruce Rondon in the ninth to try and preserve an 8-6 Mud Hens lead.
Mud Hens reliever Al Alburquerque strikes out all three batters he faces in the eighth, meaning he struck out five in 1.1 innings. That's right ... four outs, five strikeouts. Don't forget the passed ball on the first strikeout of the night. Alburquerque threw 27 pitches, 17 for strikes.
The Mud Hens get a leadoff single by Mike Cervenak -- his third hit of the night -- but Cervenak got picked off first after a tricky move by IronPigs reliever Greg Smith. Ben Guez then drew a walk, but that was it for Toledo. The Hens lead Lehigh Valley 8-6 as we move to the eighth.
Robbie Weinhardt nearly got through his sixth inning of work unscathed, but instead he gave up a two-out double and then a home run to Jermaine Mitchell. Al Alburquerque came on in relief of Weinhardt and struck out Cesar Hernandez -- but strike three was a passed ball that allowed Hernandez to reach first. Hernandez stole second, but Alburquerque struck out another hitter to end the inning. Toledo is not out of the woods, with its lead cut to 8-6 as they come to bat in the seventh.
The Mud Hens get a couple of runners on base but fail to score. We move to the seventh with Toledo still leading Lehigh Valley 8-4.
Another terrific inning of work by Robbie Weinhardt to get the IronPigs out again in the sixth. There was a out-out single, but Weinhardt got the next batter to hit into an inning-ending double play. What an impressive effort by Weinhardt after starter Casey Crosby was injured.
The Mud Hens keep piling on the runs ... getting two more hits in front of a sacrifice fly by Danny Dorn and a two-run homer by Mike Cervenak. That's the third two-run homer of the game for Toledo, and it knocks Tyler Cloyd out of the game. Toledo now leads 8-4 as we move to the sixth.
Robbie Weinhardt gave up a leadoff walk and a sacrifice, but held the runner at second on a pair of flyouts. Terrific work by Weinhardt in an emergency effort in relief of Casey Crosby.
So much for that deficit ... The Mud Hens pound a PAIR of home runs to take a 5-4 lead. With one out Mike Cervenak lined a double to the gap in left-center, and Ben Guez slammed a pitch onto Monroe Street for his 11th home run this season. Then Brad Davis singled, stole second base (his first steal of the season), and Argenis Diaz unloaded a bomb into the seats in straight-away center -- the deepest part of the ballpark. Toledo will carry a 5-4 lead into the fifth.
A bad mistake by Danny Worth ends up costing the Mud Hens three runs. After two quick outs, Robbie Weinhardt gave up a single, but then seemed to get out of further trouble when Josh Fields hit a grounder to shortstop. But Worth double-clutched before throwing to first, and Fields beat the throw for an error. The next batter, Leandro Castro, followed with a LONG three-run homer to left-center. The IronPigs lead 4-1 as the Mud Hens come to bat.
The Mud Hens tied the game thanks to a leadoff single by Argenis Diaz and a one-out double to the wall in left-center by Danny Worth. Worth moved to third with two outs, but a line drive by Nick Castellanos was speared by Lehigh Valley shortstop Pete Orr on a leaping grab. The game is tied 1-1 as we move to the fourth.
Another quick inning by Robbie Weinhardt, who got three quick outs on 12 pitches. Good news: Weinhardt has thrown just 23 pitches in two innings, which means he should be good for at least another inning. That's especially important when you consider the Mud Hens are losing Wednesday's scheduled starter, Jose Alvarez, and probably will need to cover innings in that game as well.
The Mud Hens are retired in 1-2-3 order, with a pair of called third strikes by Lehigh Valley starter Tyler Cloyd, who needed just nine pitches to retire the Hens. Last season Cloyd was the International League's pitcher of the year, so he's capable of dominating. Still 1-0 Lehigh Valley as we move to the third.
Casey Crosby came on to warm up for the second ... and slumped in pain soon after. Crosby leaves the game with an undisclosed injury. It probably happened on that first grounder down the first-base line by Jermaine Mitchell. The Hens bring on Robbie Weinhardt in relief, and Weinhardt gets a double play to pitch around a leadoff double.
The Mud Hens get two-out singles by Jordan Lennerton -- who now has reached base in 48 consecutive games, more than any other hitter in baseball, majors or minors -- and Nick Castellanos, but stranded the runners. Lehigh Valley takes a 1-0 lead into the second.
Mud Hens starter Casey Crosby was fortunate to give up just one run in the first inning, although he also came very close to escaping unscathed. He gave up an infield single to Jermaine Mitchell on a slow roller down the first-base line ... it caused Crosby to try and make an acrobatic play (kind of a rolling throw as he picked the ball up near the line and tried to throw in one motion), and he came up gimpy but stayed in the game. Crosby then picked Mitchell off first base, and that proved critical when Cesar Hernandez followed with a triple. With the infield in, Crosby got a groundout, but then gave up a fly-ball to right-center that fell between the two fielders for an RBI double. Lehigh Valley leads 1-0 as the Mud Hens come to bat.
- The Mud Hens begin an eight-game homestand with the first of four games against Lehigh Valley. The Hens have won six in a row and are 12-3 in the month of June, the best record in the International League in that span.
- There have been some changes in the Mud Hens roster, though. Before today's game, the Tigers called up C Bryan Holaday to replace Alex Avila, who went on the disabled list after getting hit on the arm by a pitch Sunday. Also Detroit promoted OF Avisail Garcia to take the roster spot of Anibal Sanchez, who also went on the disabled list.
- Curious that the Tigers called up an outfield to replace a pitcher, isn't it? Well, there's a method to Detroit's madness. The Tigers put Sanchez on the DL today, retroactive to his start Saturday in Minnesota, so his time on the disabled list would be lessened -- and that the Tigers can get a replacement until his next start comes up, which happens Thursday. On Thursday the Tigers will call up LHP Jose Alvarez to start against Boston, and Detroit will need to make a move to open up a roster spot for Alvarez.
- A quick word on Lehigh Valley, which also has been hot in June (11-4): The only familiar face on the roster (in terms of former Mud Hens and/or Tigers) is RHP Zach Miner, who is in the IronPigs' bullpen. For those of you wondering about the whereabouts of RHP Carlos Zambrano: He starts for the 'Pigs against the Hens Tuesday.
- Since it's the first day of the homestand, there aren't a lot of links to check out. Click here to read a review of the past week, including a look back at the road trip and a look ahead at both Lehigh Valley and Pawtucket. Click here to read the game story from Sunday's extra-inning win in Syracuse.