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Bats baffle Mud Hens

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Bats baffle Mud Hens

By JOHN WAGNER BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Louisville pitcher Matt Maloney grew up in Huron, Ohio, roughly 70 miles to the east of Fifth Third Field.

But you'll have to forgive Maloney if he tries to make the Mud Hens' ballpark his permanent home.

Maloney made his sixth career start at Fifth Third Field last night, and he continued his dominance of the Hens in pitching the Bats to a 7-1 win.

"I like it here - I love pitching here," said Maloney, who limited Toledo to just six hits and one run in 52/3 innings yesterday. "But I love pitching with Louisville, because we have a great group of guys.

"I need to take care of business [in Triple-A], and I'm confident I'll make it back [to the big leagues]."

In six career starts at Fifth Third Field, Maloney has allowed just 27 hits and six walks in 41 innings, striking out 45 while posting a 1.98 ERA. He's 3-1 in his career in Toledo, and two of his no-decisions have come when the Bats bullpen blew ninth-inning leads.

The Mud Hens did have their chances against Maloney last night. They left two runners on base in the second, stranded a runner on third base in the third, and saw a double play thwart a potential fourth-inning rally.

Toledo eventually scored a run off Maloney in the sixth as Brennan Boesch was hit by a pitch, took second on a wild pitch, then scored on hard single to left by Ryan Strieby.

"He kept us off-balance," Hens manager Larry Parrish said of Maloney. "We've seen him the past few years, and we know he has a good change-up.

"But he kept us off-balance and we never got anything going."

Another local pitcher, Ayersville High School product Chad Reineke, retired 10 of the 11 Hens he faced to finish the game and chalk up the save.

The lack of offense made a hard-luck loser out of Toledo starter Armando Galarraga, who allowed just three hits and a run while striking out six in five innings.

Galarraga's only mistake came with Drew Sutton at the plate with one out in the second. Sutton stroked a 2-2 pitch over the right-field fence for his first home run of the season.

It didn't help that the Hens' bullpen surrendered eight hits and six runs in four innings of relief.

"The bullpen was good for two games, but we let it get away tonight," Parrish said. "You can tip your hat to them for hitting the ball, but a lot of the balls that have left the yard have been waist-high pitches in the middle of the plate.

"It was like they were hitting the ball off a tee."

The Bats used a Mud Hen miscue to add a run in the sixth off reliever Casey Fien. With two outs, Danny Dorn blooped a single to right-center, and Sutton followed with a drive to deep center.

After a long run Clete Thomas seemed to track the ball down, but the ball bounced off his glove for a two-base error that allowed Dorn to score.

Louisville gave itself some breathing room in the seventh as Corky Miller doubled to deep center, and Zack Cozart slammed a towering homer to left off Fien.

The Bats added three more runs off Robbie Weinhardt in the ninth to put the game out of reach against the Hens, who committed three errors and had several other misplays.

NOTES: OF Casper Wells, who injured his right pinkie finger in the opener, took batting practice before yesterday's game. Parrish said the finger bothers Wells more when he throws than when he swings the bat, and as a result Wells may return to the lineup today at DH. … Today's game, which features the pro debut of LHP Aroldis Chapman, will be broadcast on www.espn3.com and www.milb.com. … The radio broadcast of the contest will be preempted by the Walleye playoff game and will not be heard on 1230 AM. The audio broadcast will be available on www.mudhens.com and www.milb.com.

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.com or 419-724-6481.

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