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Published: Thursday, 6/26/2003

Hens sweep with suicide squeeze

SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

RICHMOND, Va. - Eugene Kingsale's sacrifice bunt in the top of the 10th scored Ernie Young from third and gave the Mud Hens a 3-2 comeback win and a doubleheader sweep over the reeling Richmond Braves.

The win moves the Mud Hens (39-37) two games over .500 and keeps them 71/3 games behind Louisville in the IL West. Richmond has lost eight straight games.

Kingsale, who came into the game in the seventh as a defensive replacement, was the right man at the right time for Toledo.

“That's not a bad guy to have up there at the time,” said Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish. “We put him in just for defense, then as the game worked out in a situation where you could squeeze to get the run in, you got a guy up there who is sort of a bat handler. I'd call that sort of the perfect situation.”

Kingsale, in Toledo on a rehab assignment from Detroit, got ahead in the count and laid down a perfect, slow rolling bunt down the first base line as Young broke toward home from third.

“I just wanted to make sure I put it down and put it in fair territory. That was my main concern,” Kingsale said.

The Braves had tied the game at 2-2 in the last of the seventh on a two-out RBI single by Stubby Clapp off of Mud Hens reliever Danny Patterson. It was only the second appearance of the season for Patterson, who also is on a rehab assignment. Patterson had come on to close the game for Toledo starter Pat Ahearne, who had pitched six innings of three hit baseball, surrendering one unearned run.

“It was his [Patterson] day to pitch an inning,” Parrish said. “We had such pitching in the first game, really the only time we could use him was in the seventh, and they scored off him. Seems like we've had a couple happen that way since [Fernando] Rodney went up. He was almost automatic.”

Rodney, who was tied for first in the IL with 16 saves, was called-up by Detroit last Sunday.

Chris Mears (5-1) got the win in relief for the Mud Hens. Corey Brittan pitched a perfect 10th inning for his first save.

In the first game, Nate Robertson scattered six hits over seven innings, pitching a complete game shutout, and Young had three hits including a mammoth home run.

The Mud Hens jumped out to a quick lead against Braves left-hander Andy Pratt in the top half of the second inning when Young sent a Pratt fastball towering over the wall in right-center field for his 12th homer.

Robertson (5-5) retired the Braves in order in the seventh for his first shutout of the season and his league leading third complete game.

HEN NOTES: In 39 games with the Tigers, Kingsale batted .208 with 1 homer and eight RBIs. ... First baseman Carlos Pena, who has been with Toledo since June 20, is scheduled to end his rehab assignment tomorrow and will be activated by the Tigers. ... Pena was thrown out of the second game in the 9th inning for arguing balls and strikes with the home plate umpire. ... The Mud Hens play another twin bill todnight, sending Seth Greisinger (4-5, 4.58 ERA) to the mound in the completion of a suspended game. He'll be opposed by Derrick Lewis (2-3, 6.02). In game two, Gary Knotts makes his first start of the year for Toledo against Clay graduate Chris Fussell (4-7, 4.75).



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