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Published: Monday, 5/22/2006

Road-weary Hens swept by Clippers

BY JARROD ULREY
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

COLUMBUS - Today's off day couldn't have come at a more opportune time for the Toledo Mud Hens.

In the finale of a 10-game road trip, a depleted bullpen and a lineup which manager Larry Parrish admitted was "swinging tired" played a role in Toledo's third consecutive loss.

Columbus scored three times in the eighth to pull away for a 6-1 victory that gave the Clippers a three-game winning streak.

Toledo trailed 3-1 after seven innings, but starter Chad Durbin failed to record an out in the eighth. Columbus' Danny Garcia led off with a double and Jason Conti singled to put runners at the corners.

After a visit to the mound which Parrish said was to set up the defense the Clippers' Russ Johnson singled to knock in Garcia and knock out Durbin.

With Hector Mercado then pitching for the Hens, Terrence Long fisted one over the second baseman's head to drive in Conti. On the throw to third, the ball got by Jack Hannahan and into the dugout, scoring Johnson.

The Mud Hens, who had just two baserunners over the final six innings, have lost seven of their last 10.

"It's always great to get back home," said first baseman Don Kelly, who went 2-for-4 and drove in the Mud Hens' only run in the third. "It'll give us a chance to get back and work on some things we need to work on. Nobody's said anything about being tired. Sometimes you're going to play well and sometimes you're not catching the breaks. But it'll come around."

Columbus took a 1-0 lead on a home run by Rob Stratton to begin the second.

Toledo tied it in the third. Tike Redman led off with a single and moved to third on a pair of grounders before scoring on Kelly's broken-bat, infield hit.

The Clippers added one run in the fifth when Andy Cannizaro doubled in Wil Nieves and made it 3-1 in the sixth on a solo home run by Johnson.

"Our bullpen was short and [Durbin] did a heck of a job," Parrish said. "He battled his butt off. We need an off day [today], there's no doubt about that."



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