Toledo MLN: July Closes Out with a Bang

Another winning week for the Toledo Mud Hens ended in a sour way for the team. After they dropped a game last Wednesday to Norfolk, the Mud Hens won four straight contests, before dropping the last two, including a 17-2 drubbing at the hands of Syracuse Tuesday night.

Despite the poor start to August, the Mud Hens went 20-8 in July to push their record to 52-60, only six games behind Indianapolis and Louisville for second in the West Division.

Added help

After making one start with the Tigers, the team optioned Jacob Turner to the Mud Hens. The team's top prospect, according to TigsTown, allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings during his big league debut. He had a 3.48 ERA in 17 starts with Double-A Erie this season.

In addition, Chance Ruffin was sent back to Toledo after acquisitions by the Tigers at the trade deadline. Ruffin has been a key member of the Mud Hens' bullpen, even though he has only been with the team for a short time.

In 11 innings, he has given up only two runs and has picked up seven saves.

Record setting performance

The Mud Hens' game against Syracuse Tuesday night was memorable … for all the wrong reasons.

The 17 runs, 10 extra-base hits and six home runs the Chiefs hit were all records for an opposing team at Fifth-Third Field. The 15-run margin of victory was the largest ever for an opposing team, and the Chiefs' 20 hits was one shy of tying the record for hits by an opposing team.

In the game, the Chiefs scored seven runs in the first inning, four in the fifth, one in the sixth, two in the eighth and three in the ninth.

Thad Weber was knocked around in the first, but settled down to throw three scoreless innings to finish his day. The outing pushed Weber's home ERA to 7.89, compared to his 3.41 ERA on the road.

Going streaking

On a lighter note, the Mud Hens did finish their strong month of July on a four game winning streak. That streak included a pair of extra-inning wins, as well as a pair of ninth inning comebacks.

To start out the streak against Norfolk on July 28, the Mud Hens scored three runs in the ninth off Tides' closer Mark Worrell. The Mud Hens won that game in the 10th on a Jeff Salazar single.

The next night, the Mud Hens used another late rally to win, scoring three runs in the eighth inning to go ahead 5-2. Ryan Strieby hit a three-run, two out home run to give Toledo the advantage.

Fu-Te Ni was once again solid starting, allowing only two runs in six innings of work. Ryan Perry loaded the bases in the ninth, but got out of the inning to pick up his sixth save of the season.

On July 30, the Mud Hens once again relied on extra innings to get a victory. Adam Wilk gave the team six strong innings, allowing only a run, but Lester Oliveros allowed two in the seventh to tie the game. Clete Thomas' RBI single in the 11th ended it.

In the Mud Hens' final game of the month, they pushed the streak to four with another ninth inning comeback in one of the team's wildest games of the season.

Ahead 2-1 in the eighth, Perry exploded to allow four runs on two hits and two walks. The Mud Hens got back two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on a Danny Worth triple and a single by Thomas.

Then in the ninth, Scott Thorman hit a walk-off grand slam with one out to give Toledo the victory.

Things not seen in a box score

At the game on Saturday, July 30, Perry and Ni engaged in what can only be described as an epic bubblegum chewing contest.

Perry defeated Ni by cramming 55 pieces of gum into his mouth. Ni only could manage 41 pieces.

While I don't believe any of them made it to print, the pictures captured by the Toledo Blade's photographer were beyond priceless.

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