Willie Harris went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and Tim Gustafson was stellar as the Louisville Bats beat the Toledo Mud Hens 4-2 in the opener of a four game series. A crowd of 8,993 saw the Bats win their third straight.
Gustafson went 6-1/3 innings giving up one run on five hits while walking one and striking out four. Jordan Smith, who recorded the final two outs of the ninth, was credited with his 12th save of the season.
For the first time in five games, the Bats got on the board first when Harris doubled home Neftali Soto and Mike Costanzo with one out in the second to give the Bats a 2-0 lead.
Corky Miller’s RBI single in the fourth extended their lead to 3-0. Two innings later, Harris crushed his first homer of the season with the Bats to make it 4-0.
It was Harris’ second three-hit game of the season with the Bats.
For Gustafson, it was his best start of the season. He pitched into the seventh inning for the first time since June 16 and was credited with his first win since June 21. In his last four starts, Gustafson has allowed only two earned runs in 22-1/3 innings.
The Bats (46-71) gained a game on the Mud Hens (44-73) in the battle for third place and now lead Toledo by two games in the standings. The Bats improved to 23-22 in the second half, 13-12 since the All Star Break, and 3-2 in the month of August. Louisville has not had a winning month of baseball since April of last year.
The teams hook up for game two of the four game set Tuesday. Todd Redmond (7-8, 3.44 ERA) will make his fourth start for the Bats since being traded. He will be opposed by Thad Weber (4-10, 4.13 ERA) of the Hens. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Fans in attendance can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $1 Pepsi the entire game.