By Josh Cook
What seemed impossible a little more than a month ago is now very, very possible.
The Louisville Bats won their seventh straight game Wednesday night, and their 18th in their last 19th, beating host Toledo 4-3 at Fifth Third Field.
The victory pulled Louisville (67-51), which was 13 games out of first place in the International League West on the Fourth of July, within a half-game of division-leading Columbus (68-51), which lost to Syracuse 7-3 Tuesday.
The Bats lead Buffalo (63-54), which also has won seven in a row, by 3 1/2 games in the IL wildcard standings.
Danny Dorn's RBI-double in the top of the eighth inning improved Louisville to 10-2 in one-run games in July and August, and to 9-5 against the Mud Hens (56-62) this season.
Each team scored once in the first inning.
In the top of the first Zack Cozart reached on a throwing error by Toledo shortstop Brent Dlugach. Cozart stole second, his 29th theft of the season, then scored on Todd Frazier's single.
In the bottom of the inning Scott Sizemore led off with a double against Bats starter Micah Owings. He moved to third on Will Rhymes' single, then scored on Andy Dirks' sacrifice fly.
Toledo took the lead in the third on Dirks' two-out solo home run to right field.
The Bats took the lead by scoring two runs in the fifth. Danny Dorn led off with a walk against Mud Hens starter Ryan Ketchner, moved to second on Chris Valaika's single and third on Eric Eymann's single. However Dorn was out at home when the next batter, Michael Griffin, grounded into a force out. Cozart's sac fly scored Valaika and advanced the other two runners. Yonder Alonso walked before Frazier's single scored Eymann.
Toledo tied the game in the sixth against three Louisville pitchers. Jason Isringhausen walked Dlugach to start the bottom half of the inning before he was replaced by Jesus Delgado. The new pitcher was greeted by Justin Henry's single before Max St. Pierre sacrificed the runners to second and third.
Delgado injured his ankle on the play, though, and Daniel Ray Herrera replaced him. Herrera got Scott Sizemore to ground out, but it still scored Dlugach.
In the eighth Frazier greeted new pitcher Casey Fien with a double to center field to start the inning. He moved to third on Wladimir Balentien's ground out then, after Corky Miller's pop out, Frazier scored on Dorn's double.
Herrera (2-1) picked up the victory, allowing three hits while striking out three over two innings.
Aroldis Chapman pitched the final 1 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out three, to earn his sixth save of the season.
Frazier went 3-for-4 to lead Louisville's 11-hit attack, but Cozart, Balentien and Chris Valaika added two apiece.
The two teams close out their four-game series at 7 p.m. Thursday night at Fifth Third Field.