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The Mud Hens, perhaps weary from a long drive home Friday night - or was that Saturday morning? - watched visiting Columbus jump out to an early lead last night.
The Hens, who bused home from Scranton and didn't arrive here until 6:30 yesterday morning, fell behind 3-0 before they had a chance to bat in the first and eventually dropped a 5-3 decision to the Clippers before a crowd of 10,300 at Fifth Third Field.
The Hens' long day was made more painful by the loss, which dropped Toledo a half-game behind Columbus into third place in the International League's West Division standings.
Hens manager Larry Parrish said his team, which now has lost two in a row and is 4-9 in July, can't worry about a pennant race.
“Where we're at, we really can't worry about someone being ahead of us in the standings - especially when they're two games under .500,” he said. “We just have to find a way to win some games.”
The Clippers' first-inning rally began when Charles Gipson singled before Hens starter Tyler Walker issued a four-pitch walk to David Post. Erick Almonte launched a two-run triple to deep center, and Almonte came home when the next batter, Fernando Seguignol, grounded out to shortstop.
“We just couldn't get back over the hump,” Parrish said of that early deficit.
“I'm sure our guys were a little bit tired today. It's a deal where when you get ahead you don't feel tired, but when you get behind you have to dig down deep.”
Columbus added another run in the third, thanks to an RBI double by Drew Henson, and the Clippers added an insurance run in the sixth, thanks to some sloppy outfield play.
With one out and Gipson at first, Post hit a line drive into left-center. Jhonny Perez failed to cut the ball off in the gap and it rolled to the warning track, allowing Gipson to score.
The Hens scored all of their runs in the bottom of the third as Kevin Jordan singled in one run and Ernie Young's hit brought home two.
But Toledo could not finish the comeback as Columbus won for the sixth time in the last seven games.
The Hens did not advance a runner past second after their third-inning rally as the Clippers, 10-2 this month, retired 13 of the last 15 Toledo batters and allowed just one hit after the fourth.
NOTES: The sellout was the Hens' 13th this season and the 40th in the two-year-old ballpark's history. ... Before the game Billy Munoz was promoted from Double-A Erie to fill out the Hens' roster. Munoz, a first baseman who arrived at the ballpark less than an hour before yesterday's game, reached base twice on walks in his Triple-A debut. ... Outfielder Patrick Lennon hyperextended his elbow in Thursday's loss in Scranton and will not play again until after the All-Star break. ... Jordan was in the lineup for the first time since June 23 and went 1-for-5. He missed 20 games because of a hamstring problem.
Wendell Magee Jr., 30, asked for and received his unconditional release from the Mud Hens.
Magee left the team on July 4 to attend a family funeral and never returned. After signing with Detroit as a minor-league free agent on May 7 he hit just .214 with two homers and 18 RBIs in 53 games with Toledo.
Magee began the season with Cleveland but was traded to Philadelphia near the end of spring training. He played one month for Scranton, hitting .333 with a homer and 12 RBIs in 25 games with the Red Barons.
Magee spent the previous three seasons with Detroit, making rehab appearances with the Mud Hens in both 2000 and 2001. He also spent parts of four seasons with Philadelphia.