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Published: Tuesday, 7/18/2006

Mud Hens drop 4th straight

BY MIKE SCANDURA
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

PAWTUCKET, R.I. - The Mud Hens haven't been on the road forever. But it seems that way for manager Larry Parrish.

Toledo continued its recent spate of mediocre play by dropping an 8-6 decision last night to the Pawtucket Red Sox.

What irks Parrish as much as anything is the Hens' inability to execute fundamentals, and the lack of time to give them a refresher course.

"It's something that's been going on the last few weeks," Parrish said after the Hens dropped their fourth game in a row. "But we've been on the road for about two weeks [the Hens' last home game was July 3], and before we went on the road we had a couple days scheduled where we were going to work on things and we were rained out. If we can ever get back home again, we're going to do some of that.

"There was one play tonight where they had runners on first and second. Theguy bunted and our pitcher

[Colby Lewis] didn't get off the mound. He didn't even clear the clay and he's got the third base line on the play we run. We're beating ourselves with plays like that."

The play Parrish referred to occurred in the third when Ken Huckaby led with a double and Alejandro Machado walked. Adam Stern's bunt went for a hit and Pawtucket went on to score four runs - one on Dustin Pedroia's chopper, two on David Murphy's double and one on Jeff Bailey's single.

The walk to Machado, who bats ninth, also contributed to Parrrish's displeasure.

"We walked Machado a couple times [he also walked in the seventh and scored]," Parrish said. "One time [the third] he was trying to bunt to move [Huckaby over to third] and then the next guy [Stern] bunts for a hit. Instead of giving up one run, we wound up giving up four."

The Hens entered the fifth trailing 5-2 and emerged leading 6-5 - without exactly knocking the cover off the ball or raking Jason Johnson. In fact three of Toledo's four hits were certified "cheapies."

Toledo loaded the bases with no outs on a bloop double by Mike Rabelo, a walk to Tike Redman and a bunt single by Kevin Hooper.

Dmitri Young's dribbler down the third-base line went for an infield hit that scored Rabelo, and after Josh Phelps fanned, Ryan Raburn lined an RBI single to right. Toledo tied it when Johnson walked Jack Hanahan to force in Hooper and went ahead on Dustin Mohr's sacrifice fly.

Lewis, who scuffled through the first three innings, retired Pawtucket in order in the fourth and fifth but coughed up the tying run in the sixth on Bailey's double and Ron Calloway's single.

"Right now, we're not playing well enough to play through it," Parrish said of his team's funk. "We did score some tonight We only scored five in the last three games at Scranton [where Toledo played before busing to Pawtucket]. But we're shooting ourselves in the foot."



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