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Published: Thursday, 8/4/2005

Blowout turns into nail-biter for Hens

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Mud Hens pitcher Andrew Good retired 20 straight batters at one point, but still ended up with no decision for his work. Mud Hens pitcher Andrew Good retired 20 straight batters at one point, but still ended up with no decision for his work.
MORRISON Enlarge

For a long while, it seemed like the Mud Hens were going to chalk up another blowout win last night.

The inning that challenged that notion probably felt even longer to the Hens' bullpen.

After leading big and then giving up their lead, Marcus Thames' eighth-inning triple and Carlos Pena's RBI lifted the Hens to a 9-8 win over Richmond at Fifth Third Field.

Most of the game was defined by streaks. Starting with two outs in the first, starter Andrew Good retired 20 batters in a row. In the fifth, the Hens had five consecutive extra-base hits on the way to six runs.

And in the eighth, the Braves had seven straight runners cross home, all with two outs, to tie the score.

For most of the season, the Hens bullpen has been steady, but there have been some shaky outings recently. The Hens used three relievers to get through the eighth.

"[The bullpen] is something that has been a little troublesome for us here of late," Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "[Closer Jason] Karnuth has been doing a good job but it's getting to him. But we won, so we can forget about it for now."

The Hens improved to 68-42; the Braves fell to 39-71. Steve Green got the win for the Hens and Karnuth earned his 16th save of the season in front of 7,219 fans.

The Hens had two doubles, two triples, and two home runs in the six-run fifth. Thames and Mike Hessman hit the homers. Thames went 4-for-5.

The Braves had almost no offense until the eighth, and it didn't start until there were two outs. Then Mark Johnson walked two batters and gave up a single. Doug Creek replaced Johnson and gave up a single, double, and a three-run home run without getting the final out. Green replaced Creek and gave up the tying run on Tony Pena's home run to left.

Thames led off the eighth and the Hens quickly regained their lead. In the top of the ninth, the Braves got a runner to third with two outs but Karnuth retired Brayan Pena to end the game.

Good was perhaps outshined by all the offense. After giving up a walk and a double to the first two batters of the game, he retired 20 consecutive batters. He gave up one run, when James Jurries hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Esix Snead in the first.

Good gave up three hits in his seven innings of work but received a no decision.

"A win's a win, it would have felt a lot different if we had lost," Good said.

It was the first of two consecutive days where the Braves' starting pitcher was an Atlanta player completing a rehab assignment. Right-hander John Thomson, who was placed on the 60-day disabled list after injuring the flexor tendon in his middle finger May 16, pitched the first 32/3 innings of the game in his third rehab outing. He gave up five hits, struck out two, walked one and hit one batter with a pitch.

Mike Hampton, a cornerstone in Atlanta's rotation for the past three seasons, will do his first rehab work tonight since injuring his back July 19 against the Hens.

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

mfulton@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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