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Hens score 4 runs in fourth to edge Bats

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Hens score 4 runs in fourth to edge Bats

By STEVE JUNGABLADE SPORTS WRITER

Baseball experts will tell you the numbers in the game usually do not lie.

Last night's 7-4 win by the Mud Hens over Louisville at Fifth Third Field was a good example to the contrary.

Through four innings, Bats starting pitcher Travis Wood had struck out nine, walked one, and allowed no earned runs. Meanwhile, his Hens counterpart, fellow lefty Phil Dumatrait, had issued five walks with no strikeouts.

The net result of this divergent mound work?

Toledo owned a 5-3 lead.

Go figure.

The Mud Hens (1-1) rallied to that fortuitous lead with four unearned runs in the fourth inning.

Jeff Frazier reached on a one-out error, Will Rhymes and Robinzon Diaz each singled to load the bases and, after Wood fanned Danny Worth, Clete Thomas pulled a sharp two-run single to right and Brent Dlugach followed with a two-run triple to the gap in right-center.

"Early in the game [Wood] had us," Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "We were swinging and missing a lot. We were just looking to see if a guy could hit the ball forward there for a while.

"Then, it seemed like when we got it rolling, we started backing-to-back good at bats."

Dlugach, who was 3-for-5 in Toledo's season-opening 5-3 loss to Louisville Thursday, later doubled Thomas home and scored on a Brennan Boesch single for the 7-4 lead in the seventh.

"He's swinging like he doesn't want to play here very long," Parrish said of Dlugach, who has started the season hitting .556.

"I feel pretty good up there," Dlugach said. "I'm trying to just be relaxed and hit a good pitch. It feels good to get some big hits.

"The thing in those [scoring] situations is getting a good pitch to hit, putting a good swing on it, and not missing it.

Dumatrait had trouble locating the strike zone from the outset, throwing half of his 58 pitches for balls and issuing all five of his walks through three innings.

A double play helped him out of trouble in the first inning, and a fielder's choice grounder enabled him to keep the Bats scoreless after two two-out singles in the second.

But three walks and a double steal by Louisville's Chris Burke and Chris Heisey resulted in a 1-0 lead for the Bats in the third with Burke scoring on Todd Frazier's groundout.

The Hens were busy flailing away at Wood, striking out for their first eight outs of the game before tying things with two out in the third.

"[Hens hitters] were saying they were having trouble seeing him early," Parrish explained. "Lefthanders here throw out of the sky for a backdrop, where with righthanders you've got the SeaGate [building]."

Wood surrendered singles to Diaz and Worth and, after fanning Thomas and Dlugach to bring his strikeout total to eight, yielded a single to Boesch. Diaz scored when the ball skipped away from Todd Frazier in left.

"Those first few innings were weird," Dlugach said. "It's just one of those things in baseball. You've just got to keep going.

"There's nine innings for a reason, and we still had five left. Luckily we were able to come back and get 'em."

The Bats went up 3-1 in the fourth when Drew Sutton and Chris Valaika each doubled to right off Dumatrait for the first run, and Burke's double-play grounder got Valaika home.

Louisville loaded the bases against Hens reliever Scot Drucker (winning pitcher, 1-0) with two

out in the sixth. But Josh Rainwater came on to end that threat thanks to Boesch's diving grab of Zack Cozart's sinking liner to right.

The Bats got within 5-4 in the seventh when Dorn singled and Luis Terrero doubled him home.

Toledo's relief corps combined to allow just one run on three hits in five innings.

"That's one of the things that we thought we were pretty strong at," Parrish said of the bullpen work. "From the first two games, that's proven to be so."

Hen closer Jay Sborz worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn the save.

Contact Steve Junga at:

sjunga@theblade.comor 419-724-6461.

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