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Published: Sunday, 7/21/2002

Mud Hens top Richmond, regain 1st place

SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

RICHMOND, Va. - Statistically, Jarrod Patterson and his left-handed mates with the Toledo Mud Hens didn't have much of a chance in the eighth inning against Richmond reliever Ray Beasley last night.

Beasley is the Braves' specialist against lefties. They generally have a hard time dealing with his deceptive delivery, something that has been evident on the stat sheet this season: just 13 hits in 70 at-bats (.186 average) and a 2.03 ERA.

Patterson, though, and the parade of lefty swingers that followed him in Toledo's lineup didn't pay much attention to that. When they finished with Beasley in the eighth, they had a game-tying homer from Patterson, three hits, three runs and eventually a 3-1 victory before 5,359 at The Diamond.

The win moved Toledo back into first place in the International League's West Division, 1/2-game ahead of Louisville.

Patterson said he has faced Beasley maybe three or four times this season - all without luck. He whacked a flat 2-1 breaking ball over the right field wall to erase Richmond's 1-0 lead.

“I think that's the first hit I've gotten off him,” Patterson said.

It was definitely the first homer Beasley has surrendered this year.

“The whole year?” Toledo manager Bruce Fields said. “You're kidding me. That makes that really interesting.

“Patty can hit lefties, though, luckily for us.”

Actually, Patterson is hitting just .179 vs. lefties. Two of his 10 homers, though, have come against southpaws.

“In a situation like that, I was looking for a pitch up, something you can maybe drive into the gap,” Patterson said. "We were down 1-0, and obviously you're looking to get on. ... Fortunately for me, I got a pitch up in the zone and drove it.”

Lefty Derek Nicholson followed with a single to right, and righty Craig Monroe's screamer through the box put runners on the corners with no outs. The Mud Hens eventually parlayed that into two more runs on lefty Ryan Jackson's fielder's choice grounder and righty Craig Wilson's RBI grounder.

“"It was like that one hit kind of sparked us,” Fields said. “A lot of good things started to happen.”

Until the eighth, not much was happening for the Hens in what seemed to be a repeat of Friday's 2-1, 11-inning loss.

Tim Adkins, making his second start, didn't allow a hit in his four inning stint, and reliever Mark Johnson threw four shutout innings - and Toledo still trailed 1-0.

Like Friday, the Braves didn't get a hit until the sixth. They did get a run in the first. Travis Wilson walked and was picked off by Adkins, but Wilson successfully reached second when first baseman Jackson's throw to to the bag was slightly wide. A balk and a sacrifice fly scored Wilson. That held up as Richmond starter Trey Hodges blanked Toledo for seven innings.



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