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Published: Tuesday, 5/8/2007

Mud Hens rout Wings' phenom

BY DAN HICKLING
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - The Toledo Mud Hens have been seeking an antidote for their recent ills.

Who would have thought that they'd get one from Rochester Red Wings phenom Matt Garza.

The Hens jumped on Garza for seven runs on their way to a much-needed 9-4 triumph before 3,469 at Frontier Field.

Toledo got most of its run production from the middle of the infield, with second baseman Jack Hannahan driving in four runs, and shortstop Ramon Santiago knocking in three.

With a strong boost from starter Virgil Vasquez, Toledo wound up with just its fourth win in the past 11 starts. Vasquez has won two of those, both of them coming against the Red Wings.

"I felt like we came out and played a great game today," said Vasquez (4-2), who worked 52/3 innings, and allowed just three runs on five hits. He also fanned nine while walking just two. "We came out and swung the bats early. Garza's a great pitcher, but we came out and put up some runs. That made my job easier."

A pitcher's duel seemed to be in the offing when both starters each struck out the side in the first inning.

However, Vasquez kept throwing strikes while Toledo found a way to get to Garza (1-2), who is the No. 1 prospect of the Minnesota Twins, according to Baseball America.

The Hens ripped Garza for four runs in the third inning, another in the fourth, then chased him from the game in the fifth when they scored twice more.

Right fielder Henry Mateo got the Hens going in the third, when he beat out a bunt single. Mateo took third on Brent Clevelen's single to right, the both runners were tripled in by Santiago, making it 2-0.

Timo Perez Hannahan both added RBI singles before the frame was over.

Santiago tripled again in the fourth, knocking in Mateo to make it 5-1.

"We were due for a game like that," said Hens catcher Dane Sardinha. "Luckily we got to [Garza] a little bit. And I think he got frustrated a little and got away from his game."

Next inning, Garza served up leadoff singles to Perez and Ryan Raburn before being relieved by Brian Bass.

Hannahan greeted Bass with a double down the right field line that brought in both Perez and Raburn, making it 7-1.

"To get seven runs off Garza [was a feat]," said Hens interim manager Mike Rojas. "He [deserves] all the respect in the world. But we've been struggling with the bat. I'm glad we came out of it."

Vasquez, began to tire in the sixth, but retired two hitters before handing the game to the bullpen.

"Me and Sardinha kept going after the hitters," said Vasquez. "Fastball and slider. The game is 90 percent about confidence and 10 percent about ability. [I'm] not afraid to throw strikes. That's the way you've got to go after hitters."

NOTES: Among the visitors to Frontier Field was former Mud Hen, and two-time World Series winning manager Tom Kelly. Kelly, who toiled in Toledo back in 1978, is now a special consultant for Minnesota. ... The Hens will resume their four-day stay here this morning at 11 a.m., when right-hander Ron Chiavacci (1-2, 4.75) will face Rochester right-hander Scott Baker (2-1, 2.40).



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