If you throw out the errors in last night s game between Toledo and Pawtucket, the contest would have ended in a tie.
But errors can t be ignored, of course. And no one could overlook the Mud Hens four miscues that led to five unearned runs in a 7-2 loss to the PawSox, in which Nomar Garciaparra hit a solo home run and a two-run double.
The defeat snapped Toledo s three-game winning streak.
But Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said blaming only the defense for last night s loss was a mistake.
“We didn t get the big hits, we didn t make the plays [defensively], and we didn t pitch very well,” he said. “Other than that ...”
But first, the errors.
A two-out second-inning error by Derek Nicholson, who was playing third base for just the 44th time in his 533-game pro career, led to three unearned runs. With two outs Carlos Febles reached base when Nicholson misplayed his grounder; Kelly Shoppach then drilled a long double over the head of center fielder Nook Logan to score Febles.
Toledo starter Pat Ahearne walked Jeremy Owens, and Garciaparra just missed hitting a home run, settling instead for a two-run double high off the left-field fence.
“We opened the door [with defense], but we didn t make some pitches, either,” Parrish said. “I don t think Ahearne gave up an earned run, but he didn t pitch as well as he had been. He was a little off with his command. When we made the error, there was nobody on base and two outs. To me, he didn t pitch well when he gave up three when you had two outs.”
Pawtucket added another unearned run in the fifth thanks to an error by Brant Ust, who mishandled leadoff man Mike Curry s grounder in just his 22nd contest at second base in 557 pro games. Two outs later Earl Snyder slammed a drive off the wall in center for an RBI double.
In the sixth the Hens finally got on the scoreboard against PawSox starter Frank Castillo. Marcus Thames tripled to deep right-center, then came home when Andy Barkett grounded out.
Thames drilled a long home run with one out in the eighth, his league-leading 17th this season, to finish the scoring.
“We had some opportunities; we just needed someone to get a big hit,” he said. “We had the bases loaded [in the fifth] when it was 4-0 and didn t score, and we had some other opportunities late. A big hit here and there, and we might have been back in it.”
Pawtucket scored twice in the seventh off Toledo reliever Eric Eckenstahler when Garciaparra led off with a long home run to deep left-center, and one batter later Adam Hyzdu slammed a home run to nearly the same spot.
NOTES: The game was played before 10,300 fans, the Hens second straight sellout and the seventh of the season. Last night s crowd was the 60th sellout in Fifth Third Field history. ... Garciaparra, 2-for-4 last night, left the game after his seventh-inning home run. For the three games in Toledo he was 4-for-10, and in five games for Pawtucket he was 5-for-18.
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