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Published: 5/10/2006

Mud Hens' Miner remains unbeaten

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The reason, Zach Miner contends, he's been so successful for the Mud Hens this season is that when he's on the mound, everything else seems to go right around him.

"Every time I go out there, the guys are supporting me, giving me run support, the defense is playing well," Miner said. "It's been good so far."

In the Hens' 4-2 win last night at Fifth Third Field, Miner pitched six innings to earn the victory and improve to 5-0. His record is tied for best in the International League.

After two no-decisions to start the year, Miner's last five starts have resulted in a win. Last night's performance, though, was something neither he nor manager Larry Parrish was satisfied with.

"He was pitching away from contact, which we've been trying to get him out of, but I thought the last few innings he reverted back tonight," Parrish said.

Said Miner: "I was kind of fighting myself out there today. I put too many guys on base, and I really wasn't that comfortable."

Miner struggled with his breaking ball early but relied on his changeup and fastball to escape relatively unscathed. He pitched out of two bases-loaded situations and gave up just five hits to go along with five strikeouts.

"Making pitches when you've got to is something he's going to have to do at the next level," Parrish said.

In front of an announced crowd of 5,049, the Hens scored first when Tike Redman singled in Don Kelly in the second inning. They got two more in the third, beginning on a heads-up play on the bases.

Alexis Gomez, who rejoined the Hens (16-16) yesterday, singled to center, and Ryan Ludwick went from first to third. Tides center fielder Lastings Milledge overthrew the bag, and the ball bounced into the stands. Ludwick was awarded home plate because of the error.

"It was a good aggressive play on Ludwick's part," Parrish said. "The young guy in center field, he just tried to do a little too much on that play."

The Tides' (10-23) runs came in the sixth inning on a Chase Lambin home run to right-center field that scored Michael Tucker. In the bottom of the inning, catcher Max St-Pierre added an insurance run for the Hens with a solo home run to left field, his second of the season.

The Hens' bullpen allowed the Tides little chance to come back. Chris Spurling threw two hitless innings in relief, and Lee Gardner gave up a single in the ninth to get his seventh save of the year.

Tides pitcher Orlando Roman (0-1), in his first Triple-A start, pitched just three innings, giving up five hits and walking three batters.

NOTES: To make room on the roster for Gomez, who cleared waivers, outfielder Jackson Melian was optioned to Double-A Erie. St-Pierre's home run added to the Hens' International League-leading total of 32.

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

mfulton@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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