By Josh Cook
Edinson Volquez sure seems to have returned to big league form.
The right-handed pitcher, making his fourth rehabilitation start with Louisville on his comeback from Tommy John surgery, gave up only one hit over seven innings as the Bats shutout Toledo 3-0 Friday night in front of 8,954 fans at Louisville Slugger Field.
Volquez (3-0), whose fastball topped out at 97 miles per hour, struck out nine and walked three as he lowered his Triple-A earned-run average to 1.96 as he readied for his imminent return to the Cincinnati Reds. The only hit he allowed was a two-out single by Jeff Larish in the sixth inning. The Mud Hens (44-45) mustered just one more hit - a two-out single by Jon Weber in the eighth inning off Louisville reliever Carlos Fisher.
The Bats (43-47) only had five hits, but two of those came in their three-run fourth.
Toledo starter Scot Drucker (2-4) walked Todd Frazier to start the inning. After Juan Francisco struck out Frazier moved to second on Daniel Dorn's ground out. He scored on Drew Sutton's line drive single to center field. International League All-Star Chris Valaika followed with his second home run of the season to make it 3-0.
That was more than enough for Volquez and Fisher, who gave up one hit and struck out two over the final two innings to earn his third save of the week, and the season.
Sutton led Louisville at the plate, going 2-for-3 to raise his batting average at home to .319.
The Bats begin a two-game series against IL West-leading Columbus, which has an 11 1/2-game lead over Louisville, at 6:05 p.m. Saturday night at Slugger Field. Bats right-hander Chad Reineke (5-6, 3.01 ERA) is scheduled to take on Clipper righty Carlos Corrasco (7-3, 4.38). There will be a pregame concert by Faith Night and a Michelob Craft Beer "Happy Hour" as well.
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