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Published: Wednesday, 8/3/2005

Mud Hens foul up Braves

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Marcus Thames strokes this controversial double in the second inning. Marcus Thames strokes this controversial double in the second inning.
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The Mud Hens can certainly feel the Braves' pain.

In the midst of one of their most successful seasons in recent history, the Hens still have glimpses of mediocrity, as evidenced by their 3-7 record in the past 10 games.

So the Hens understood the frustration coming from Richmond's side last night at Fifth Third Field. Two of the Braves' coaches were ejected in separate instances for arguing calls in the Hen's 9-2 win.

The Braves are 39-70 and mired in last place in the International League South.

"That's baseball, it happens," Hens outfielder Marcus Thames said. "They're still going to battle. Mr. [manager Pat] Kelly's going to have them playing hard every day."

Richmond manager Pat Kelly gets ejected for arguing with umpire R.J. Thompson that Thames' hit was a foul ball. The Hens held a 6-2 lead after the double. Richmond manager Pat Kelly gets ejected for arguing with umpire R.J. Thompson that Thames' hit was a foul ball. The Hens held a 6-2 lead after the double.
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In front of an announced 7,021, Kelly was dismissed in the second inning and hitting coach Rick Albert got tossed in the sixth. Braves starter Adam Bernero lasted 12/3 innings and gave up six runs on six hits for the loss.

"It was a rough game for those guys," Hens manager Larry Parrish said.

The Mud Hens improved to 67-43. The Hens already have more wins this year than in seven of their previous eight seasons. They scored two runs in the first, four in the second and three in the eighth.

Curtis Granderson led off the first with an off-the-wall triple, his 10th of the season. Thames sent him home with a home run to right, his 15th with the Hens this year.

The top of the next inning looked similar for the Braves, as first baseman Scott Thorman singled to lead off the inning and third baseman Andy Marte homered him home. But while Hens starter Kenny Baugh was able to regain his presence for four more innings, Bernero seemed off all evening.

The bottom of the second began with Alexis Gomez and Ryan Raburn hitting two consecutive singles off Bernero. After striking out Jason Smith, Bernero walked ninth-place hitter Sandy Martinez to load the bases.

The next batter, Granderson, singled home Gomez and Raburn. Martinez scored when Bernero's pickoff attempt of Granderson sailed into the stands. Then for the second straight inning, Thames took care of Granderson, hitting a double to drive him in.

Kelly's arguing of Thames' hit to the left-field corner was what sent him back to the clubhouse early. Kelly said the ball landed foul, pointing out that Thames did not run until after the umpire called the ball fair.

"I think the hitter tells you where the ball was," Kelly said.

Bernero exited the game after that.

"I've seen him throw a lot better than that," Parrish said. "He had a rocky outing tonight."

It was a bullpen contest for the Braves after that; they used seven pitchers in the game. The hurlers relieving Bernero were strong until the eighth inning, when Jorge Vasquez gave up three runs; two on Martinez's one-out bases-loaded double to right and one on a Granderson single for Granderson's third RBI of the game.

Albert's ejection came with the Hens at bat when he argued that Martinez interfered at the plate with the Braves' catcher's attempt to throw out Smith at second.

Baugh pitched six innings for his ninth victory of the season.

"I thought his stuff got better as the game went on," Parrish said. "Early in the game I thought he was pitching real tentative, and as the game went along he got more aggressive."

NOTES: Right-hander Zach Miner, acquired by Detroit on Sunday in a trade for Kyle Farns-worth, joined the Hens yesterday. Although he and his former team, Richmond, were traveling to the same place, Miner traveled separately. He will make his debut in the Mud Hens' rotation on Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader at Indianapolis. Miner was a regular in the Braves' rotation this season. ... The Braves changed their pitching rotation for the rest of the series because two Atlanta pitchers, John Thomson and Mike Hampton, are joining Richmond for rehabilitation assignments. Thomson will pitch tonight, Hampton will go tomorrow and righty Anthony Lerew will pitch Friday. ... Granderson's 10th triple of the season last night brought him to a tie for the International League lead with Syracuse's Anton French. Granderson is also second in the league with 51 extra-base hits. ... The Hens are 6-0 against Richmond this season.

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

mfulton@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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