PAWTUCKET --- As good as Brandon Workman was on Wednesday night – and he was very good – his counterpart was just a tad bit better.
Toledo Mud Hens starter Kyle Lobstein delivered his best outing of the year, limiting the Pawtucket Red Sox to four hits and a free pass in 6 1/3 scoreless innings, and the Hens’ bullpen kept the PawSox off the board the rest of the way in securing a 4-0 victory at McCoy Stadium.
Workman, who became the first Pawtucket pitcher to work into the eighth inning this season, struck out five batters, walked one, and allowed just four hits in his seven-plus innings of work.
Unfortunately for Workman, all four of the hits he allowed left the yard.
The first two blasts came off the bat of the same player, 36-year-old veteran Mike Hessman. He led off the second inning by wrapping a 3-2 pitch around the left-field foul pole, and with one out in the seventh, he hammered an 0-1 offering that sailed over the left-field pole and barely stayed fair.
The homers were not only his team-leading seventh and eighth of the season, but they also hiked his career minor-league total to 397 (287 of them coming in Triple-A).
Workman, who threw just 79 pitches in his first seven innings of work, saw his night come to an end in the eighth when he allowed back-to-back homers to the first two batters he faced, Tyler Collins and Ben Guez.
Collins’ blast came on the inning’s first pitch and sailed deep into the picnic area in right, and seven pitches later, Guez lofted a shot that fell in the Mud Hens’ bullpen and just out of the reach of right fielder Alex Hassan.
Lobstein, who entered the game with a 1-3 mark, 6.23 ERA, and 1.77 WHIP in six starts, performed a lot better than his statistics indicate. He struck out a season-high nine batters and only allowed one runner to advance past second in his outing.
Two of the hits Lobstein allowed were one-out doubles by Ryan Roberts in the first inning and Garin Cecchini in the second, but Lobstein came back in each inning with a strikeout that was followed by a groundout.
In the fifth, singles by Hassan and Dan Butler put runners at the corners with two gone, but Lobstein again wiggled off the hook by inducing a groundout.
NOTES: PawSox reliever Alex Wilson lowered his ERA to 0.66 with a scoreless inning of work. He’s allowed just one earned run in 13 2/3 innings of work. … Cecchini has reached base in 27 of his 30 games this season. ... Rubby De La Rosa (1-2, 2.48) will get the start on the hill for the PawSox in today’s 12:05 p.m. series finale with Toledo. After the game, the PawSox will hit the road for eight straight games, the first four against Louisville and the next four against Indianapolis.
Follow Eric Benevides on Twitter @EricBen24