But Toledo's bullpen kept Norfolk in check, with Jason Karnuth pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning to send the Mud Hens on to the Governor's Cup playoffs at Indianapolis.
A look back at the Tides' run for the crown:
Game 1: Mud Hens 6, Tides 5 (Sept. 7) – Toledo's Marcus Thames homers and drives in three runs, lifting the visiting Mud Hens to an opening night win at Harbor Park. It is Thames' seventh-inning sacrifice fly off Tides reliever Jeremy Hill that proves to be the difference; Norfolk starter Eric Junge allows six runs (four earned) and nine hits in 6-1/3 innings, taking the loss.
Game 2: Tides 7, Mud Hens 3 (Sept. 8) – After three so-so starts at Triple-A, Yusmeiro Petit righted his ship just as it counted. The Mets' top pitching prospect struck out 14 Mud Hens and Prentice Redman homered, getting the Tides even in their series with Toledo. Rodney Nye also contributed two RBI and Manny Aybar slammed the door shut for the save, moving the series on to Toledo.
Game 3: Mud Hens 4, Tides 2 (Sept. 9) – The Tides were limited to just two runs – coming on a second-inning throwing error by Toledo second baseman Ryan Raburn – as the Mud Hens regained a 2-1 series advantage. Lost in the mix was another solid start by 16-game winner Jason Scobie, who held Toledo to two runs and eight hits over 6-2/3 innings; Jeremy Hill was tagged with the loss, allowing two runs in the eighth on RBI singles by Gookie Dawkins and Raburn.
Game 4: Tides 3, Mud Hens 2 (Sept. 10) – The Tides staved off elimination with a late comeback, scoring three times in the last two innings to force a Game 5 in their Governor's Cup series. A two-out Gookie Dawkins error in the eighth plated Wayne Lydon and opened the door for Ron Calloway to knock in Chase Lambin with Norfolk's second run. Toledo tied the game with an eighth-inning run off Manny Aybar, but Brian Daubach doubled in the eventual winning run off Jason Karnuth in the top of the ninth inning. Royce Ring and Tim Lavigne teamed to record the final three outs.
Game 5: Mud Hens 5, Tides 3 (Sept. 11) - Starter Jose Santiago is hit for four runs in 2-2/3 innings, with the big blow a two-run single from Ryan Raburn in the third, and it's enough to defeat the Tides. Norfolk pushed across only one run against starter Wil Ledezma, on Ron Calloway's fourth-inning single, and managed just two more against the Toledo bullpen to complete their season.
The Tides finished the 2005 season 79-65 (.549), winning the International League South Division.