The Bisons offense showed some signs of life in a much needed 5-2 victory over Toledo yesterday morning. The team put a four spot up to start the game in support of Deck McGuire, who would make that lead last.
Drew VerHagen was on the hill for Toledo in front of nearly 50 friends and family, but that certainly did not seem to provide him any comfort to start the game. He loaded the bases with a pair of walks in the first that set up the Herd with another opportunity to strike early. This time they took advantage. A two run double that was scorched to center off the bat of Matt Tuiasosopo kick started the offense. Ryan Goins, who had been moved down to the six spot in the order after a recent slump, added a two run single.
Breaking through for some early runs was critical in the win yesterday, but the trouble is the team managed only one run after the first, and it took an error to get it done. Darin Mastroianni has been one of the few bright spots throughout the tough home stand, as he added another multi-hit game last night. He also picked up a sacrifice fly in the eighth to add an important insurance run. Hopefully the confidence gained from the big win will help the offense maintain some success moving forward.
The real story of the day was Deck McGuire. He pitched seven strong innings allowing just three hits and only one run. The run came on a solo home run off the bat of Jordan Lennerton, who did well to drive the low inside sinker over the fence. McGuire took a similar approach as he did in his last outing pounding the lower part of the zone. He also showed to the ability to come inside on hitters and mix up speeds which kept hitters off balance. In fact the Mud Hens were so off balance that McGuire was able to match a career high with ten strikeouts.
After the game Allenson hinted that he believes if Deck continues to approach hitters in the same way he will be able to make a smooth transition into the majors perhaps sooner rather than later.
"When he gets that phone call from me at some point ... hopefully he doesn't change anything from what he is doing here," he said. Allenson was impressed with the huge strides that have been made from last season for McGuire. This year marked the third straight in which the righty started in New Hampshire, but he seems more than comfortable at this level.
It should also be noted that Mike Hessman was back in the lineup for Toledo after getting a few much needed days off. The slugger had precancerous growths removed from his face earlier in the week that left swelling. He needed the time to return to normal, but is healthy moving forward. His attempt to break the International Leagues all-time home run record yesterday was shut down by the great pitching of McGuire. Hessman struck out twice and popped out to first in his three at bats against McGuire; he then drew a ninth inning walk off of Bobby Korecky.
Hessman will try again today in the series finale with a 6:05 start. Sean Nolin will be making his first start off the disabled list for the Bisons as they try for the series split.