By Josh Cook
There was bad news and good news for the Louisville Bats on Saturday night.
The bad news was that they lost to Toledo 8-3 at Louisville Slugger Field.
The good news was that they didn't lose any of their lead in the International League West. That's because second-place Columbus fell 8-0 to Indianapolis to remain 1 1/2 games behind Louisville. The Bats (75-59) and Clippers (74-61) both have nine games remaining in their regular seasons.
Louisville got off to a good start against the Mud Hens, scoring three runs in the first inning. However that was all the runs the Bats plated against Toledo - which scored a pair of runs in the third and fourth, one in the sixth and three in the ninth - and Mud Hens' starter Charlie Furbush. Furbush (3-3) allowed three runs on three hits in the first inning, but retired 21 of the 24 he faced over his last seven innings to help hand Louisville just its fifth home loss since the IL All-Star break.
In that first inning Dave Sappelt led off with a single before moving to third on Yonder Alonso's one-out double. Wladimir Balentien's sacrifice fly scored Sappelt. After Todd Frazier walked, then stole second, Devin Mesoraco's single scored Alonso and Frazier.
Toledo (64-70) tallied two in the third, off Louisville starter Chad Reineke, on Christopher White's RBI-double and Cale Iorg's RBI-single. The Mud Hens plated two more in the fourth on Shawn Roof's sac fly and White's RBI-single to make it 4-3. Toledo added another in the sixth when Reineke hit Michael Bertram with a pitch to lead off the inning. Bertram then stole second and scored on Max St. Pierre's single.
Reineke (9-8) allowed five earned runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out six over six innings as he absorbed his first loss since July 17.
The Mud Hens scored a trio in the ninth - all of which were charged to Louisville reliever Daniel Ray Herrera - on run-scoring singles by Bertram, St. Pierre and Roof.
Frazier led Louisville at the plate, going 2-for-3 to raise his August batting average to .322.
The two teams meet in the second game of their five-game split at 2:05 p.m. Sunday. Right-hander Micah Owings (0-0, 2.35 earned-run average) is slated to take on Toledo lefty Andy Oliver (2-3, 3.29). The Bats will have a pregame autograph session before the game from 12:50-1:30 p.m.