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Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Published: Friday, 6/8/2007

Mud Hens stick to winning formula, top Syracuse

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The Mud Hens claimed their third straight victory and eighth in their last 10 contests when they topped Syracuse 5-2 at Fifth Third Field last night.

With 17 wins in their last 22 games, all this winning has become so routine for the Hens it might almost seem boring, right?

"No, no, it's never boring when you win," Ramon Santiago said. "That's one thing you always want to keep doing.

"I never get bored of winning. I get bored of losing. But not winning."

Last night's victory was similar to many of the other wins in this recent streak, combining timely hitting with good pitching and an air-tight defense.

The offense was especially proficient in the early innings against Syracuse starter Michael MacDonald, scoring runs in three of the five innings he pitched.

Toledo scored twice in the first thanks to two-out RBI singles by Chris Shelton and Mike Hessman, then added more runs in the third on a sacrifice fly by Hessman and a fielder's choice groundout by David Espinosa.

Back-to-back singles by Santiago, Vance Wilson and Timo Perez produced the final Mud Hens run in the fourth.

"We're swinging the bats well with guys in scoring position," said Mike Rojas, Toledo's interim manager. "And everybody is swinging the bat. I could go through the lineup, and I'm very pleased with what's going on right now."

Every Mud Hens starter except Henry Mateo had at least one hit, and Toledo had three hits and five RBIs in its first nine plate appearances with runners in scoring position.

Syracuse scored its runs in the fourth off Hens starter Corey Hamman as John-Ford Griffin homered, then Chad Mottolo and John Hattig followed with doubles. Otherwise Hamman, who started in place of Yorman Bazardo when the latter was promoted to Detroit following Wednesday's game, covered four innings without incident.

"I just tried to throw strikes, make their guys hit the ball and just battle," Hamman said. "It makes it easier when you have a lead."

Eulogio De La Cruz and Ian Ostlund followed Hamman with two scoreless innings apiece, and Jason Karnuth worked the ninth for his third save.

"Ostlund came in and did a great job, and it was nice to see Karnuth come off the disabled list [and pitch well]," Rojas said.

The defense also had a hand in the win, turning a pair of double plays to thwart potential Syracuse rallies. The Mud Hens, who rank among the top defensive teams in the International League, were errorless for the 10th time in the last 12 games.

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.com

or 419-724-6481.



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