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Published: Sunday, 8/24/2003

Mud Hens' struggles continue

BY DAN SAEVIG
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Like father, like son.

Following in the footsteps of the parent Detroit Tigers, the Mud Hens continued their free-fall to the end of the 2003 season last night at Fifth Third Field.

After last night's 4-0 loss to Columbus, Toledo has lost nine of its last 11, including Friday's 14-5 debacle to the Clippers in which Columbus scored eight runs in the sixth inning. That's slightly better than Detroit, which has dropped 11 straight including yesterday's horrific 14-8 loss to Anaheim in 10.

Beginning to see a pattern?

If there was any consolation to the sellout crowd of 10,300, it's that the contest lasted just 2:30, allowing the post-game fireworks show to get started quickly.

“You've got to have the horses to win,” Toledo manager Larry Parrish said. “Unfortunately, we've proved it for two years in Detroit. You sort of see where we are now after we've lost some guys, we just can't - offensively - we really can't compete day in and day out.”

Adrian Hernandez pitched seven strong innings for Columbus, yielding three hits and one walk while striking out six.

Toledo had only the three hits on the evening, none after the second inning. Only two Hens reached second base.

“We don't have anybody right now that you can put in there that you think might give you a spark offensively,” Parrish said. “You give up three runs in seven innings of work as a pitcher, to me, you've done your job.”

Parrish was referring to his starter, Seth Greisinger (5-9), who struck out seven and walked one. Where he got into trouble was making the pitch he needed to end an inning.

The Clippers' first three runs came in three different innings with two outs.

In the first, Greisinger retired the first two hitters before serving up a double down the third-base line to Bobby Smith. Fernando Seguignol then drove in Smith with a double down the first-base line.

It remained 1-0 until the fourth. A two-out single by Nate Rolison sent Seguignol, who had walked, to third. The next hitter, Erik Almonte, lined a grounder between third and short that Toledo shortstop Omar Infante reached. His throw to second wasn't in time, and Seguignol ran home.

One inning later, Michel Hernandez and Curtis Pride reached base on singles. Greisinger struck out the next two, but Seguignol plated Hernandez with a liner up the middle.

“It's difficult to see your teammates struggle,” Greisinger said. “Myself included. This team obviously would have been a lot better if not for the 11 call-ups [to Detroit], but everyone's happy to see them go up and contribute in the major leagues.

“If you look between the 22 games, you'll see some well-played ballgames, but sometimes the offense and defense are going in different directions.”

The results have led in just one direction.

NOTES: Catcher A.J. Hinch will join the Hens in Columbus today on a major league rehab assignment. ... Pitcher Preston Larrison has been returned to Double-A Erie.



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