By Josh Cook
Billy Buckner doesn't have the best baseball name. But Monday night at Louisville Slugger Field the Toledo pitcher had plenty of game.
Buckner - who's not the son of the former Major Leaguer infamous for his error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series - and one combined to blank the Louisville Bats 6-0 Monday night in front of 6,328 fans.
And Buckner did it in rare fashion. He pitched eight innings of shutout baseball with a single strikeout. The right-hander (2-2) gave up only four hits, three of which were doubles, and walked one.
The victory by Toledo (40-31), which also rode a five-run sixth inning to the win, moved the Mud Hens within one game of International League West Division-leading Columbus. Meanwhile the loss dropped the Bats (32-39) nine games behind the Clippers.
The Mud Hens took a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning when Will Rhymes singled off Louisville starter Matt Maloney with one out, stole second, then scored on Jeff Kunkel's single.
Rhymes busted the Bats again in the Mud Hens' five-run sixth. His a two-out, two-run double to chase Maloney (6-4). Louisville's left-hander gave up four earned runs on seven hits, while walking two and striking out three over 5 2/3 innings.
Jared Burton replaced him and Kunkel singled home Rhymes, who had stolen second. Scott Sizemore then reached on a fielding error by Bats third baseman Todd Frazier. Kunkel and Sizemore scored on Brent Dlugach's double.
Dlugach led the Hens at the plate, going 4-for-5 with a pair of RBIs.
Toledo reliever Casey Fien pitched the ninth inning, giving up a double to Juan Francisco and striking out one to preserve Buckner's shutout.
Chris Burke led the Bats' batters, going 2-for-4 (both doubles) to continue his recent hot streak. The Louisville native now has at least two hits in four of hits last five games.
The same two teams meet at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday night in the second game of the four-game set. Hot dogs and Pepsi products are $1. You can also buy one field reserved ticket and get the second field reserved ticket free with a package wrapper for any Kraft Singles product.