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Published: Tuesday, 7/4/2006

Mud Hens hang on to top Indians

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Toledo s Ryan Raburn slides under the tag of Indianapolis
third baseman Yurendell de Caster in last night s game.
Toledo s Ryan Raburn slides under the tag of Indianapolis third baseman Yurendell de Caster in last night s game.
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For the second straight night the Indianapolis Indians rallied in the ninth inning. This time the Toledo bullpen saved the victory.

The Mud Hens won 4-3 at Fifth Third Field last night to take three of four from the Indians to take over sole possession of first place in the International League West.

In the ninth, Hens reliever Chris Spurling walked the leadoff batter, Rich Thompson, and the next batter, Chris Richard, singled to left.

Yurendell de Caster hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Thompson, bringing the Indians within one run. But Carlos Maldonado hit a grounder to Spurling and the Hens turned a game-ending double play.

The Hens (46-38) scored two runs in the sixth for a 3-1 lead. With the bases loaded and one out, Jack Hannahan roped a single to right-center field to score two runs.

Starter Humberto Sanchez, set to play in the All-Star Futures Game in Pittsburgh on Sunday, had another quality outing for the Hens. Sanchez (5-1) allowed six hits and two runs over seven innings.

The Indians (44-38) rallied in Sanchez's final inning with two infield hits to third base. Adam Boeve hit a fielder's choice to third, but the Hens could not turn the double play, leaving runners at first and third.

Carlos Maldonado singled to left to score one run.

Sanchez was flustered, throwing a wild pitch that advanced the runners to second and third, but he held the lead by getting Craig Stansberry to grounder the mound.

Mike Connolly (1-2) went six innings for the Indians and gave up four hits. Just two runs were earned because a runner in the sixth reached on an error.

In front of a crowd of 8,994, Josh Phelps added to the Hens' lead in the eighth with his 11th home run. The blast extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

The Hens scored in the bottom of the first. David Espinosa reached with a single, and Don Kelly followed with another, sending Espinosa to third. Ryan Raburn's groundout scored him.

Third baseman de Caster put Indianapolis on the board in the top of the second with a home run to left field.

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

mfulton@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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