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Published: Monday, 6/4/2007

Efficient Hens continue to roll


BUFFALO - Nice and clean. That's how you could characterize the Toledo Mud Hens' 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Bisons before 7,834 at Dunn Tire Park yesterday afternoon.

The Hens managed just three hits off Bison pitching, but the last of those was a three-run blast by Ryan Raburn in the sixth inning.

Backboned by a strong six-inning outing by starter Virgil Vasquez, and the usual solid defense (errorless in four straight and seven of eight), and you have the elements required to give the Hens their 14th win in the last 18 starts.

"Virgil pitched a great game again," said Raburn, who now has 11 homers.

"He kept them right there where we needed them. There wasn't going to be a whole lot of runs scored."

Vasquez (7-2) locked up with Bison starter Jeff Harris in a scoreless duel through the first five frames.

Harris allowed the Hens just two base runners in that span while recording five of his seven strikeouts.

Vasquez worked out of a tough spot in the fourth, after allowing a leadoff triple to Joe Inglett.

"You've got to put up zeroes," said Vasquez. "You hope that our team will score before their team. That's what you do as a starting pitcher, is try to get that lead early. I just had to bear down."

Vasquez wound up going six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits. He whiffed four Bisons and regained the IL strikeout lead (with 71).

"I think it was his best outing of the year," said Hens interim manager Mike Rojas. "His best stuff was today. He changed speeds well. His location was great."

Raburn provided all the run support necessary with one swing off Harris in the top of the sixth, after Kevin Hooper singled and Timo Perez was walked intentionally.

"You get the bat on the ball sometimes," Raburn said, "and you don't know how. It was a good pitch. But he left it over the plate, and I put a good swing on it."

Buffalo countered with Brad Snyder's two run shot off reliever Preston Larrison in the seventh.

Aquilino Lopez came on in the ninth and picked up his ninth save.

NOTES: Jack Hannahan, out with a strained left quad since May 26, occupied the designated hitter's spot. This was the third time the Hens have won this year while getting just three hits, but they have actually done more with even less. Back on May 17, they were one-hit by Louisville, yet won 1-0. ... The Hens will wrap up their eight-day road swing this morning at 10:35. against the Bisons. RHP Jordan Tata (0-0, 0.00) will make his second start of the year. Buffalo has not announced a starter.

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