Mike Hessman hit a historic home run, helping the Toledo Mud Hens to a 3-0 win over the Red Wings Tuesday afternoon at Frontier Field. The loss ended the Wings' seven-game winning streak, and 10-game win streak at home.
With two outs in the first inning, Hessman hit a two-run home run into the Mud Hens bullpen off Rochester starter Scott Diamond. It was Hessman's 400th career minor league home run; he became just the fourth player to reach 400 career homers in Minor League Baseball.
The fireworks continued in the bottom half of the inning. Wings slugger Oswaldo Arcia was hit square in the back by the second pitch he saw from Toledo rookie starter Drew VerHagen. Arcia made his way to first very slowly, but never made a move toward the mound or even looked in the direction of VerHagen, even though the beanball had all the characteristics of a purpose pitch.
After the inning, Wings manager Gene Glynn spent a few minutes shouting at the Mud Hens dugout. According to Glynn, Toledo catcher James McCann shouted at Arcia to get back in the Wings dugout after the incident. Glynn says that Arcia never uttered a word towards the Mud Hens and even if he had, Glynn was certain that he would properly restrain Arcia.
Glynn dismissed the incident afterward. "That's baseball. It happens many times. It won't be the last time this year," Glynn said.
The Mud Hens continued to chip away at Diamond through the second inning with a pair of singles. The runners never saw home plate, though, keeping the score at 2-0 in Toledo's favor.
VerHagen was making his ninth Triple-A start, and picked up his first win in a start against the Wings May 10 in Toledo. The Wings earned their first hit in the bottom of the second inning when Pedro Florimon singled on a fly ball to left field with two outs. Dan Rohlfingstranded his teammate, though, with a flyout to right field.
Hessman nearly knocked another out of the park in his second at-bat, but Eric Farris caught the ball on the warning track to end the Toledo third.
Diamond found his groove in the top of the fourth inning, striking out all three Mud Hens to tally his third, fourth and fifth K's on the day. Diamond had retired seven in a row until the Hens picked up a run on a sacrifice fly by Ezequiel Carrera in the fifth inning to make it 3-0.
Florimon started Rochester's offense once again in the fifth, tallying another single after Wilkin Ramirez struck out. VerHagen earned his fourth strikeout on the day against a looking Rohlfing.Doug Bernier singled up the middle and Florimon reached third, giving the Wings their first chance to score. Farris stranded his teammates, though, with a hard groundball down the third baseline.
Diamond retired another six in a row through the top of the sixth, helped in part by a fine catch by Farris.
VerHagen (2-4) had held the Wings to six baserunners on four hits, a walk and a hit batter through six innings.
In the top of the seventh, Toledo had two runners on with two outs when Diamond used his foot to knock down a ball hit up the middle by Carrera. Diamond recovered to throw out Carrera at first base for the final out.
The Wings had another great chance to score in the seventh, with Ramirez on first and one out. Dan Rohlfing launched a drive to the gap in right-center, with Ben Guez and Carrera in pursuit. Right fielder Guez made a running grab then collided with Carrera, with both outfielders crashing to the ground. Both fielders stayed in the game, but Guez had robbed Rohlfing of a sure extra base hit and RBI opportunity.
Diamond (2-5) worked seven innings, allowing six hits and three earned runs. He didn't walk a batter, struck out six, and threw 96 pitches - 70 for strikes.
A.J. Achter took over for Diamond to start the eighth inning. He allowed a single to Hessman, but also struck out two. In the ninth, Achter allowed another single and added a strikeout.
VerHagen turned in a solid start, working seven innings and allowing just five hits and a walk, fanning five. He has now allowed just two runs over his last 18 innings.
Kevin Whelan set down the side in the ninth to record his sixth save of the season.
The Wings will play four road games against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre beginning Thursday night, and return home for eight days on Memorial Day for a 1:05 p.m. first pitch.