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Hens fail to seize opportunities

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Hens fail to seize opportunities

By JOHN WAGNERBLADE SPORTS WRITER

Facing one of the most highly regarded - not to mention hardest-throwing - pitchers in professional baseball yesterday, the Mud Hens had to know they wouldn't get many chances to score.

The Hens didn't take advantage of those opportunities, and as a result lost a 2-1 decision to Louisville at Fifth Third Field.

Aroldis Chapman and the Bats bullpen limited Toledo to seven hits while striking out 15 as the Hens lost for the third time in four games.

"He throws the ball pretty firm, but a lot of guys throw that hard in the big leagues," Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said of Chapman. "If you want to play there, you're going to face guys like [Chapman]."

Toledo saw a scoring opportunity go by the boards in the second when Ryan Strieby beat out an infield single, and then Clete Thomas and Mike Rabelo collected two-out singles that loaded the bases.

But Chapman coaxed Danny Worth to hit a grounder to second to end that threat.

In the fifth Toledo managed its only run. Rabelo reached on a one-out error and Worth beat out an infield single. After a strikeout, Brent Dlugach walked to load the bases.

Brennan Boesch topped a slow roller wide of first, then beat Chapman to the bag for a single that allowed Rabelo to score.

"I just wanted to put the ball in play," Boesch said. "It wasn't my goal to just hit a little bleeder, but I went up there with a two-strike approach, because what happened is what can happen when you put the ball in play.

"There might have been some luck, but I did do what I wanted to do."

Enerio Del Rosario came in to pitch and got Strieby out on a drive to center.

"Strieby hit the ball pretty well," Parrish said. "That ball might have been out of here, or at least off the wall [earlier in the week].

"The ball had been flying pretty good before today, but when we took BP the ball acted like it was frozen. The ball wasn't traveling."

The only other scoring opportunities for the Hens came in the seventh, when they wasted a one-out double by Worth, and in the eighth, when Boesch reached on a leadoff single but quickly was erased when Strieby hit into a double play.

The lack of offense spoiled a good outing by Toledo starter Enrique Gonzalez and the Hens' bullpen.

Gonzalez gave up a first-inning home run to Chris Heisey, then pitched out of jams in the next few innings before giving up a run in the fifth. Wilkin Castillo led off that inning by tripling, and one out later Zack Cozart hit the second of his three doubles to drive Castillo home.

"He's got good stuff, but he wasn't as sharp as he had been [in spring training]," Parrish said of Gonzalez, who allowed six hits and one walk while fanning three in 41/3 innings.

NOTES: OF Casper Wells, who injured his right pinkie finger in the opener, served as the DH for yesterday's game and went hitless in four at-bats. Parrish said he expects Wells to be able to play in the outfield today when the Hens open a two-game series against Indianapolis.

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