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Published: Thursday, 8/26/2004

Hens dress like champs but don't play that way

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo gained no karma from wearing Tiger uniforms bearing numbers and names from that championship club, instead dropping a 10-3 decision to Indianapolis at Fifth Third Field.

In fact, last night's loss continued a familiar pattern for the Mud Hens during this 4-19 August: fall behind early because of a bad effort from a starter, then fail to muster enough offense to mount a comeback.

"That's pretty much it in a nutshell for August," said Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish. "We get behind big early, and when you do that it takes away a lot that you can do. You can't hit-and-run, you can't steal, you can't take a chance or give away any outs.

"You basically become a cheerleader [as a third-base coach]. 'Let's go, somebody's got to hit a three-run homer to get us back in it.' "

Mud Hens pitcher Lino Urdaneta shows his displeasure aftergiving up a three-run homer to Steve Scarborough. Mud Hens pitcher Lino Urdaneta shows his displeasure aftergiving up a three-run homer to Steve Scarborough.
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Toledo starter Lino Urdaneta, a Rule 5 pick of the parent Tigers who is continuing a rehab assignment with the Mud Hens, struggled in his three innings.

In the first he gave up a leadoff single to Dave Krynzel and a two-out RBI double to Jeff Liefer.

In the second Urdaneta surrendered a single to Jon Nunnally, a run-scoring double by Mark Johnson, a single by Peter Bergeron, and a three-run homer to left by Steve Scarborough before getting an out.

Liefer led off the third with a long home run to right-center,

giving Urdaneta six earned runs in three innings. Including his meltdown in Sunday's loss to Louisville, the right-hander has allowed 11 earned runs in 32/3 innings over his last two appearances.

"Urdaneta had a rough three innings and that put us in a hole big-time," Parrish said.

The Mud Hens got a run back in the fourth on a single by Greg Norton, a wild pitch by Indianapolis starter Ben Hendrickson, and a two-out single by Brant Ust. Ust, who took second on the throw home, moved to third on a single by Chad Alexander, but did not score when Eric Owens grounded into a fielder's choice.

The Tribe scored a run in the fifth off Toledo reliever Rick Kirsten when Corey Hart's double-play groundout scored Keith Ginter from third.

Toledo scored twice in the sixth off Indians reliever Adrian Hernandez. Andy Barkett just missed a home run when he led off by doubling high off the fence in left, and Norton followed with a walk. Mike DiFelice singled home Barkett and pushed Norton to third. Norton scored when Ust grounded into a double play.

But Indianapolis got that run back off Kirsten the next half-inning when Hart slammed a two-out RBI double to plate Krynzel. Doubles by Mark Johnson and Steve Scarborough produced a run in the eighth off Kirsten, and Liefer finished a 4-for-4 night by slamming his second home run of the game to lead off the ninth against Franklyn German.

"That was one of better outings," Parrish said of Kirsten, who allowed six hits and three runs in five innings. "The only negative is that every time we scored, that's when he went out and gave up a run."

The Mud Hens begin an eight-game road trip tonight with the first of two games in Louisville. Right-hander James Baldwin (8-6) will start for Toledo against the Bats' Seth Etherton (4-6) in a game starting at 7:15 p.m.

NOTE: Last night's crowd of 7,446 at Fifth Third Field gives the Hens a season attendance total of 516,870 for 68 dates. The Hens need to attract less than 500 fans in their final three home games Sept. 4-6 to better the total of 517,331 they hosted in 68 dates last season. To break the city's professional record of 547,204 set in 2002, the Mud Hens need to have 30,335 attend their final three games.

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.com

or 419-724-6481.



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