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Win slips away for Mud Hens

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Win slips away for Mud Hens

By JOHN WAGNER BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The Mud Hens' dwindling playoff chances took a hard punch to the gut last night in a 5-3 loss to Indianapolis.

Toledo frittered away three leads and had plenty of other chances to score runs in an exciting, if not particularly well-played, game at Fifth Third Field.

The two teams combined to make three errors, not to mention several misplays on the bases. But there was plenty of excitement in the ninth inning thanks to a home run that was - and a home run that wasn't.

"That was tough," said Hens outfielder Wilkin Ramirez. "You want to win, and when you have leads like [we did] you want to win. And when you hit the ball like [i did in the ninth], you want to win."

The home run that "was" came in the top of the ninth, when the Indians' Erik Kratz slammed a two-run homer off Hens' reliever Freddy Dolsi to give Indianapolis a 5-3 lead.

In the bottom of the ninth, Scott Sizemore and Mike Hessman both drew walks sandwiched around an out to set the stage for Ramirez.

Ramirez slammed a pitch by Juan Mateo to deep right that, off the bat, appeared to be a home run. But it wasn't; Indians right fielder Jose Tabata caught the ball, and pinch-runner Max Leon was doubled off first to end the game.

"I thought it was a home run," Ramirez said. "When I swung the bat, I thought it was at least a double that had tied the game. I don't know how it stayed in [the ballpark]."

The Mud Hens broke on top with a run in the second inning when Will Rhymes scored on a triple off the wall in right by Kelly. But Kelly was stranded at third, the first of several missed opportunities by the Hens, who went 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

"We had so many chances with runners in scoring position," Toledo manager Larry Parrish said. "In one inning we had the bases loaded and the infield back, and we didn't score. That was a momentum-shifter because we had them and we didn't do anything."

The Indians tied the game in the fourth on a two-out RBI single by Brian Myrow, but the Hens retook the lead in the fourth thanks to a misplay by the Indians.

With one out Brent Dlugach walked, and he was running on a pitch to Brent Clevlen, who ground the ball through the vacated hole at shortstop for a single. Then Indianapolis leftfielder Tagg Bozied overran the ball, allowing the two runners to advance a base.

That proved to be critical when Dane Sardinha rapped a potential double-play grounder to third baseman Neil Walker; Walker's only play was to first to retire Sardinha, allowing Dlugach to score.

Indianapolis tied the game with an unearned run in the seventh. Toledo starter Nate Bump fell behind Myrow

3-1 before leaving the game with a blister. Reliever Clay Rapada finished the walk to Myrow but got a flyout and a groundout, with Myrow taking second on the grounder.

Walker then hit a grounder into the hole at short that Dlugach stopped. But Dlugach threw the ball over the head of Kelly at first base, allowing Myrow to score.

Toledo did score once in the seventh with a rally that should have been more productive. Sardinha led off with a double and Rhymes then attempted to sacrifice Sardinha to third. But pitcher Jeremy Powell's throw to third was wild, allowing Sardinha to score and Rhymes to take second.

Sizemore doubled Rhymes to third and Kelly walked to load the bases.

But a popout by Hessman and back-to-back strikeouts by Ramirez and Jeff Frazier ended the threat.

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