In the first game of a four game series versus the Rochester Red Wings, Toledo starter RHP Yorman Bazardo (1-0) set the pace while retiring the first nine batters he faced. His counterpart, RHP Kevin Slowey (0-1), attacked the strike zone early in his major league rehab start, but the Hens took advantage with two early homers.
Despite striking out seven batters in his first three innings, Slowey's two mistakes made him a loser in his first major league rehab start. In the first and second innings, 3B Mike Hessman and LF Brent Clevlen hit towering solo-shots to put the Hens up 2-0. Slowey finished the outing giving up only those two runs in five innings with nine strikeouts.
Yorman Bazardo was lights out, retiring the first nine batters he faced on the way to his first win of this young season. The early run support was all he needed to put the Red Wings away quietly. He finished with five strong innings of his own, but allowed only one lone run, departing with a 2-1 lead.
The Hens added three runs in the eighth thanks to a LF Brent Clevlen 2-run triple for his third runs driven in on the night. Preserving the lead, LHP Casey Fossum was brilliant and shut the door pitching 3.1 scoreless innings of relief before closer Blaine Neal stepped in and earned the save (10), stopping the two on, one out ninth inning rally.
News And Notes
Homeward Bound: The Mud Hens began their eight game home stand with a win Thursday night versus the Rochester Red Wings. The Hens play the Red Wings Friday night with LHP Dontrelle Willis taking the hill.
Get Out!: Hens' 3B Mike Hessman and LF Brent Clevlen expanded the team home run total with 2 more solo shots in the first and second innings Thursday night. The team now has a league leading 41 home runs. Coming into tonight, the next closest in the I.L. is Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with 26. Toledo finished April with 11 multi-home run games; this is their 12th such game of the season.
Beach Balls: It seems as if the Hens batters see a beach ball coming in to home plate; six Toledo position players finished April batting over .275 and all but three finished over .250. All but one player has at least one home run.
Leaders In The Pack: 3B Mike Hessman leads the league in home runs (9), runs scored (21), extra-base hits (19), and is second in RBI (21). 1B Jeff Larish shares holds the lead in RBI with 22 and is second in home runs (7) and extra-base hits (15). Toledo pitchers have had their share of the lime light too; starter RHP Eddie Bonine is tied for the I.L. lead with 5 wins (5 starts) and Hens' closer RHP Blaine Neal leads with 10 saves (10 opportunities).
What They're Talking About: Detroit starter LHP Dontrelle Willis is scheduled to make a major league rehab start during the second game of the four game series Friday evening. Tickets are still available; call 419.725.HENS.