By Josh Cook
The Louisville Bats' past got in the way of their present, and maybe their future too, Monday night.
Toledo's Shawn Roof, the son of former Louisville Redbird great Gene Roof, continued to blister Bats' pitching - going 3-for-4 to lead the Mud Hens to a 6-2 victory at Louisville Slugger Field.
Louisville's loss, coupled with a victory by Columbus, trimmed the Bats' lead in the International League West to a half-game. Both Louisville (76-60) and the Clippers (76-61), who beat Indianapolis 6-4 Monday, have seven games remaining in the regular season.
Toledo (65-71) improved to 6-5 this season at Slugger Field thanks to Roof and a pair of solo home runs by Max St. Pierre. The Mud Hens scored single runs in the first and second innings, three in the fourth and one in the eighth.
With one out in the first Maxwell Leon singled off Louisville starter Matt Klinker. Andy Dirks followed with a double to score Leon to give the Hens the early lead. St. Pierre then led off the second with a solo home run to make it 2-0 Toledo.
The Bats answered in the third when Wladimir Balentien launched his 25th home run of the season to make it 2-1.
The Hens flourished in the fourth. Michael Bertram led off with a single, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Louisville catcher Devin Mesoraco, before scoring on an RBI-single by Roof. The shortstop, whose father starred for the franchise back in the 1980s when the Bats were known as the Redbirds, is 7-for-12 (.583) in the first three games of the split five-game set.
Christopher White followed Roof with a single, before Scott Sizemore doubled him home. White would score when Leon grounded out.
That was more than Klinker (4-3) could overcome. The right-hander allowed five earned runs on nine hits while walking one and striking out five over six innings.
Meanwhile Mud Hens starter L.J. Gagnier (6-7) gave up just one earned run on six hits while walking one and striking out five over six innings.
Toledo tallied one more run in the eighth on St. Pierre's second homer, this one off Louisville reliever Jerry Gil.
The Bats tried to rally in the ninth against Hens reliever Casey Fien, but fell short. With two outs Zack Cozart tripled and scored on a fielding error by White.
Monday's matchup was more than just one between IL West foes. It also pitted brother-against-brother - Toledo's Jeff Frazier against young brother Todd Frazier of the Bats. Jeff Frazier, the Hens' designated hitter, went 0-for-4, while Todd Frazier, Louisville's left fielder, went 1-for-3.
The two teams continue their five-game split series at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night at Toledo. It's the beginning of a five-game road trip for the Bats, who end their regular season back at Slugger Field on Sept. 5-6 against Indianapolis.
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