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Published: Saturday, 5/6/2006

Mud Hens look lethargic in shutout to Richmond

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Mud Hens third baseman Mike Hessman can't stop a grounder from rolling down the left-field line during last night's game. 
Toledo didn't have much luck at the plate either as it was shut out by the Richmond Braves at Fifth Third Field. Mud Hens third baseman Mike Hessman can't stop a grounder from rolling down the left-field line during last night's game. Toledo didn't have much luck at the plate either as it was shut out by the Richmond Braves at Fifth Third Field.
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The Mud Hens didn't show much spark in last night's 2-0 loss to Richmond at Fifth Third Field.

So hopefully a brief, closed-door meeting Toledo manager Larry Parrish held with his players following the loss will provide a spark to a team that, almost 30 games into the 2006 season, seems to be merely treading water.

"That was something I needed to address," was all Parrish would say about the meeting.

"Our starting pitcher [Chad Durbin] pitched his butt off, and we didn't do much to support him."

Mud Hens fans Chris Morales, above left, and Dan Wagner, both from Toledo, cheer as the team enters
the field last night. They were among the first 1,000 fans given free sombreros in celebration of Cinco de Mayo.
Mud Hens fans Chris Morales, above left, and Dan Wagner, both from Toledo, cheer as the team enters the field last night. They were among the first 1,000 fans given free sombreros in celebration of Cinco de Mayo.
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Durbin was the only bright spot for the Mud Hens, allowing just five hits while fanning seven in seven innings of work. The Braves had only three hits in the first six innings off the right-hander and had just one base-runner advance as far as third.

But in the seventh Richmond broke through for a run. Michael Ryan singled, then moved to third on Brayan Pena's hit-and-run single through the hole at shortstop. Durbin struck out Bill McCarthy, then seemed about to wiggle out of trouble when Tony Pena Jr. hit a double-play grounder to Don Kelly.

But the shortstop bobbled the ball, then threw it past Kevin Hooper at second to allow Ryan to score.

The Mud Hens escaped further damage when Jonathan Schuerholz missed on a suicide squeeze bunt, and the Hens ran down both baserunners to end the threat.

"He pitched - he really pitched," Parrish said of Durbin. "He moved it around, changed speeds, did everything you'd want."

Meanwhile Toledo had plenty of opportunities to score in the early innings off Richmond starter Ricardo Rodriguez, who gave up six hits and six walks in 61/3 innings. But the Hens left the bases loaded in both the first and fifth innings and stranded 11 runners overall.

Jennifer Frantz, left, chooses a fuchsia-rimmed sombrero before heading into the stadium. Last night s plans also included a fireworks display, and hundreds of Scouts
had signed up to camp overnight on the field. Jennifer Frantz, left, chooses a fuchsia-rimmed sombrero before heading into the stadium. Last night s plans also included a fireworks display, and hundreds of Scouts had signed up to camp overnight on the field.
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"Those are all uncontrollables from a pitcher's standpoint," said Durbin (2-1), who saw a personal two-game win streak stopped despite a fourth consecutive quality start. "I'm sure we're a little frustrated, because [Rodriguez] walked a few guys and we left some guys on base.

"But the ball was moving a lot and we were being aggressive, so that happens."

The Braves added an insurance run in the eighth. The run scored on a second error by Kelly, this one coming on a potential inning-ending groundout with the bases loaded. The Mud Hens more than doubled their previous season high with four errors in the game.

"We're just not playing aggressively, and we're not hitting aggressively," Parrish said. "We're not playing with what I'd call 'reckless abandon.' We let the other team take it to us. We're wasting some good starts."

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com or 419-724-6481.



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