MIDLAND, Mich. - One night after giving up 12 runs, the Great Lakes Loons pitching regained normalcy Wednesday.
But this time it was the offense's turn to struggle.
Three Bowling Green hitters limited the Loons to five hits and one run and the Hot Rods won for the second game in a row at Dow Diamond, 2-1. The Loons gave up just six Bowling Green hits, but the Hot Rods had the game's big blow, a two-run homer by Oscar Hernandez in the fourth inning.
Hernandez's homer came off of Loons starter Victor Arano, who left the game two batters later with an apparent arm injury. But the Loons bullpen took care of business by shutting out the Hot Rods the rest of the way.
"The bullpen has been so good," said Haselman. "They've saved us in so many games this year, but tonight we just couldn't get another run across the plate."
The loss left the Loons with a 24-27 second-half record and kept them out of second in the hotly-contested Midwest League Eastern Division playoff race. Two playoff spots are up for grabs and the Loons remained a half-game behind Dayton - pending the outcome of Dayton's late game Wednesday with Lake County.
The Loons scored their only run Wednesday in the seventh inning when Paul Hoenecke had a leadoff double, took third on a passed ball, and came home on Joey Curletta's ground out to second.
The Loons then loaded the bases in the eighth inning with two outs, but Bowling Green reliever Brian Miller got Curletta to ground out sharply to first.
"We had a chance and who knows what happens if that ball gets past their first baseman," said Haselman. "But we've struggled bringing runners home in those situations all season."
Arano was relieved by Victor Araujo, who pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings, while Mark Pope and Matt Campbell each pitched one shutout inning.
Bowling Green starter German Marquez (4-5) earned the victory by throwing five shutout innings in which he allowed just two hits while striking out five batters. Miller pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his third save.
The teams conclude their three game series Thursday night (7:05) when right-handed pitcher Jose De Leon will make his Loons debut. De Leon was 5-0 with a 2.65 ERA with Ogden and struck out 77 batters in 54 1/3 innings. De Leon was added to the Loons roster after reliever Ralston Cash was promoted to Double-A Chattanooga on Monday.
Bowling Green will start righty D.J. Slaton, wh is 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA in four starts with Bowling Green after having been promoted from Hudson Valley of the Short Season-A New York Penn League.
Thursday's promotional lineup at Dow Diamond includes $1 Family Feast Night, presented by Chemical Bank, in which fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs, 16 oz. Pepsi products, ice cream sandwiches and chips all night. It will also be Middle School Athletics Night, presented by the Midland Community Center.
The Great Lakes Loons are an eighth-year Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. For tickets and more information, call 989-837-BALL or visit loons.com.