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Mud Hens' win streak halted at 8

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Mud Hens' win streak halted at 8

By JOHN WAGNERBLADE SPORTS WRITER

Last night was a deflating night for the Mud Hens.

They fell behind early to visiting Louisville, never mustered any offense, and suffered a 5-0 loss at Fifth Third Field.The setback pricked the bubble on an eight-game win streak and a surge that had seen Toledo win 19 of its last 25 contests. And — talk about bad karma! — it came on the night the team began selling tickets for the playoffs.“We went flat,” Toledo manager Larry Parrish said. “We’ve been winning and playing hard, and in this game we just went flat.”Just 10 pitches into the contest, the Hens found themselves trailing the Bats 3-0. Toledo starter Brooks Brown gave up a leadoff single to Luis Bolivar, who stole second before taking third on Chris Heisey’s single.Todd Frazier blooped a double just over the head of first baseman Don Kelly that scored Bolivar and sent Heisey to third, and both baserunners came home on a single by Juan Francisco.Brown managed to hold the Bats off in the next two innings, but he left in the third after allowing six hits and issuing two walks. The right-hander suffered the loss, which dropped his record to 3-11; his 11 setbacks are the third-most in the International League this season.“[Falling behind early] has happened before with this pitcher [brown],” Parrish said. “You hate to say that, but that’s where we’re at with this guy.”The Bats added a run in the fourth on an RBI double by Wes Bankston, and Eric Eymann’s first home run of the season in the sixth capped the scoring.“It’s always tough to start the game from behind, but we’ve come back a lot lately, so it wasn’t out of our league to come back and score some runs,” said Scott Sizemore, who reached base twice on a double and a walk. “But their guy [starter Ben Jukich] threw well against us.“He mixed his pitches up well and kept us off-balance — standard stuff for a pitcher. Whatever it takes to be successful, he was doing it.”The Hens had a few chances to score in the first seven innings off Jukich, but they never were able to cash one in.In the first inning Sizemore doubled with one out, but he was stranded at third. In the fourth, the Hens got a second hit off Jukich, a leadoff single by Kelly, but Kelly never got past second.Toledo’s best chance came in the seventh, when Wilkin Ramirez singled with one out and Jeff Frazier drew a walk. Brent Dlugach flew out to deep center and Brent Clevlen grounded out to end that threat.Jukich tied his season high with nine strikeouts — he fanned nine Hens in a July 28 start in Louisville — to snap a personal two-game losing streak. He also walked two others in his seven innings of work, but he stranded Frazier in the second frame and picked Will Rhymes off first in the third inning.Parrish was ejected at the end of the third for arguing a balk on the play that retired Rhymes.The loss dropped Toledo’s “magic number” in the West Division race to just six, and the Hens’ “magic number” in the Wild Card chase fell to 10 with Durham’s win at Syracuse.“We can’t afford to lose too many more, so we need to turn around and take another one to keep ourselves alive,” Sizemore said.

NOTES: Jeff Larish will have season-ending surgery on his right wrist and hand in the coming days. Larish, who had been playing with a wrist injury before injuring his hand during the team’s series in Columbus, will leave the team today. … Dlugach saw a pair of streaks end last night. He went hitless in three at-bats to snap a 12-game hit streak and a 24-game streak of reaching base in home games, one shy of the IL season high. … Last night’s crowd of 6,454 pushed the Mud Hens’ season attendance total to 500,544 in 63 dates. It marked the eighth time Toledo has surpassed the 500,000 mark in season attendance; all eight have come at Fifth Third Field.

Hessman HonoredMud Hens 3B Mike Hessman was named International League player of the week, the league office announced yesterday.Hessman batted .321 for the week and led the IL with four home runs, 11 RBIs and eight extra-base hits. He also tied for fifth in the league with seven run scored.Contact John Wagner at:jwagner@theblade.comor 419-724-6481.

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