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Hens capitalize on Indians' generosity

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Hens capitalize on Indians' generosity

By JOHN WAGNERBLADE SPORTS WRITER

Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish didn't quite know how to feel about his team's 7-6 win over Indianapolis at Fifth Third Field Friday night.

"I don't know how we won," Parrish said. "And at the same time, I don't know how we didn't score more.

"But we won, and we'll take it, because all wins are great."

The Mud Hens were outhit 13-9 by the Indians, but Toledo also benefited from 10 walks, two errors, and a pair of wild pitches. The problem, as it has been all season, is that the Hens collected just three hits in 16 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

"We've struggled with that all year," said Will Rhymes, who brought home the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. "I don't know if we put too much pressure on ourselves in that situation or if pitchers are making good pitches.

"But we put up seven runs, and that's pretty good."

The rally for the winning run began when Dusty Ryan led off with a triple - his first since Aug. 8 of last year. Max Leon drew an eight-pitch walk, and Rhymes hammered a hard liner to right that was speared by Jose Tabata but allowed Ryan to trot home easily.

"I wasn't trying to do too much there, just get a decent pitch to hit, put a good swing on it, and let something happen," Rhymes said. "Fortunately he threw a pitch in the zone where I like it, and I put a good swing on it."

That was the winning run in a game that saw the two teams score at least one run in eight different innings. Indianapolis held early leads of 1-0 and 2-1 before Toledo scored twice in the fourth thanks to mistakes by the Indians. Wilkin Ramirez led off with a single and Ryan walked, and on Leon's sacrifice attempt pitcher Eric Hacker threw the ball past third baseman Neil Walker, allowing Ramirez to score and Ryan to take third.

Hacker then threw a wild pitch on ball four to Rhymes, allowing Ryan to score.

But the Indians retook the lead with a pair of fourth-inning runs thanks to an RBI double by Argenis Diaz and a run-scoring single by Jeff Salazar, then tacked on two more in the sixth thanks to some help from the Hens

Brian Myrow singled and Tagg Bozied walked in front of Neil Walker, who laid a bunt down the third-base line. Rhymes threw wildly to first to send Myrow home and move Bozied to third, where he came home on a Diaz single.

But the Hens retied the game with three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Rhymes singled, stole second, and came home on a single by Scott Sizemore. Don Kelly walked, and reliever John Meloan got Mike Hessman to hit a pop behind the plate that was dropped by catcher Robinzon Diaz.

Hessman then slammed a double into the left-field corner that scored Sizemore and sent Kelly to third, where he trotted home on a sacrifice fly by Brent Dlugach.

With Louisville's win over Columbus, the Bats clinched at least a tie for the International League's West Division title. And with Durham's win at Norfolk, the Bulls maintain a 7 1/2-game lead over the Hens in the Wild Card race with 10 games left.

But Rhymes said the Hens are still playing hard.

"We just come out and play hard every day, because that's our job," Rhymes said. "Obviously I wish we were in a better situation, and I wish we had played better early on.

"But we're still coming out, playing hard, and letting the chips fall where they may."

NOTE: Dontrelle Willis is scheduled to make a rehab start for the Mud Hens tomorrow against the Indians.

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