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Published: Thursday, 8/28/2003

Mud Hens fall in ninth

SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

INDIANAPOLIS - After losing five straight games the Toledo Mud Hens got good starting pitching, but defense came back to haunt the team that leads the International league in errors as the Hens fell 4-3 to the Indians.

Toledo entered the ninth inning with a 3-1 lead, but the advantage slipped away on a defensive miscue.

“We stunk up the house,” Hens manager Larry Parrish said. “We walked a guy trying to bunt and we threw a double-play ball away.”

Toledo starter Pat Ahearne started the game lugging a personal three-game losing streak. Ahearne's last win came on July 31 at Louisville.

Ahearne cruised through the first six innings, giving up no runs on only six hits. But bad defense cost the Hens on a bizarre play in the seventh. With one out Wilton Veras reached on a throw in the dirt from shortstop Omar Infante. Doug Jennings then collected an infield hit to put runners at first and second with one out.

Alex Delgado then hit a high bouncer back to Ahearne, who made a leaping stab at the ball, whirled and threw out Jennings going to second.

But Infante jumped in the air while making the relay throw to first and threw the ball over Patrick Lennon's head, allowing Veras to score.

Lennon hustled to retrieve the errant throw and the Hens got Delgado out on a rundown to end the rally.

Toledo got on the board in the fourth. Cody Ross stroked a one-out single to left field and moved to second on a walk to Ernie Young.

After a popup to second, A.J. Hinch was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Brant Ust drew a walk to score Ross, and then Gene Kingsale hit a ground ball into the hole at short that scored Young when the throw to second failed to beat the runner.

Lennon hit a long home run to straightaway center field in the sixth to push the Hens' lead to 3-0.

Eric Eckenstahler came on in relief and ran into serious trouble in the last inning, loading the bases on two hits and a walk.

Terry Pearson then came on and got a ground ball to third, but Ust's throw home sailed wide, allowing two runs to score.

The next hitter, Steve Scarborough, stepped up and slashed a single down the left-field line to score the winning run.

Mud Hens' pitcher Fernando Rodney was named to the International League post-season all-star team.

Rodney, 26, finished with a 1-1 record and 23 saves, the second-best total in the league, in 38 games, striking out 58 and walking only 13 in 402/3 innings.

The right-hander was nearly impossible for IL hitters to solve after May 11; in 25 appearances after that date he did not allow a single run, giving up just eight hits and seven walks in 272/3 innings. League managers voted him the league's best reliever in a Baseball America survey.

Rodney, who was called up Sunday to Detroit, also missed more than a month of the Hens' season when he was with the Tigers (June 23 through July 27).

Columbus designated hitter Fernando Seguignol (.343, 28 home runs, 87 RBIs), who led the league in hitting, was named most valuable player. Pawtucket's Bronson Arroyo (12-6, 3.43 ERA and 155 strikeouts) was voted the most valuable pitcher.

Pawtucket's Buddy Bailey was named the manager of the year after leading the Red Sox to the league's best record and the North Division title. Charlotte's Aaron Miles was voted rookie of the year after topping rookies in batting average (.309) and runs scored (74) and leading the entire league in hits with 161.

IL ALL-STAR TEAM

Voted by the managers, coaches, media and club representatives.

1B, Ross Gload, Charlotte; 2B, Chase Utley, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; SS, Jason Smith, Durham; 3B, Brandon Larson, Louisville; C, Johnny Estrada, Richmond; OF, Andy Abad, Pawtucket; Lou Collier, Pawtucket; Alex Escobar, Buffalo; DH, Fernando Seguignol, Columbus; utility, Ryan Jackson, Durham; starting pitcher, Bronson Arroyo, Pawtucket; relief pitcher, Fernando Rodney, Toledo



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