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Published: Tuesday, 6/27/2006

Espinosa's 3 triples help Mud Hens sweep the Tides

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Mud Hens pitcher Steve Green is congratulated after helping to turn a triple play in the second game of the doubleheader.
Mud Hens pitcher Steve Green is congratulated after helping to turn a triple play in the second game of the doubleheader.
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History was made at Fifth Third Field last night.

The Mud Hens turned their first-ever triple play at the 5-year-old ballpark, and David Espinosa collected three triples in the same game - a seven-inning one, no less - to make him the first to ever turn that trick here.

"I don't think I've ever seen a guy hit three triples in a game - and I've played with some guys who can run who were playing on turf," Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "The stars were lined up tonight for triples."

All that history overshadowed the fact that Toledo swept a pair of games from Norfolk, claiming a 4-3 victory in the first game and a 7-2 win in the nightcap.

The victory, the Hens' third in a row and ninth in their last 12, tightened up the race in the International League's West Division. Toledo's eighth win in its last nine at Fifth Third pushed it within a game of Indianapolis and a half game behind Louisville.

But it was all the history that took center stage, and the historic events came in the second game. The triple play came in the fifth, when starter Steve Green saw a hit and an error put runners on first and second with none out and the Hens holding a 5-2 lead.

Yusaku Iriki gets knocked out of the second game. It was his first Triple-A game after a 50-game suspension.
Yusaku Iriki gets knocked out of the second game. It was his first Triple-A game after a 50-game suspension.
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Green got former Hen Sandy Martinez to hit a soft line drive right back to him. Green caught the ball and threw to shortstop Don Kelly covering second for the second out. Meanwhile, the Tides' Chris Basak strayed too far off first, and Kelly threw to first baseman Josh Phelps to get Basak. The last Mud Hens triple play was on May 24, 1999, at Skeldon Stadium.

"It was a change-up that was hit back at me, so I kind of stabbed at it," Green said. "I knew the runners were running on contact, so I caught it, turned around and threw it to [Kelly] at second.

"I didn't know the guy was so far off first base - it was exciting."

Meanwhile, Espinosa was busy collecting his three triples, getting one in the first and third



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