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Published: Thursday, 6/21/2007

Fast start helps Hens win

BY DARREN DESAULNIERS
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

OTTAWA, Ont. - The Mud Hens made up for lost time early last night in their 8-2 win over the Ottawa Lynx.

During their 12-inning 2-1 win over the Lynx Tuesday night, the Mud Hens were held hitless over the final seven innings and needed a bases-loaded walk to score the winning run.

They scored one run on two hits in the first inning last night, then used five hits to produce five more runs in the second inning.

All the damage was inflicted on Lynx starter Bubba Davis, but to his credit, Davis (2-2) settled down and allowed just one more hit before being relieved by Fabio Castro to start the sixth inning.

Castro's first pitch of the night was sent over the left-field wall by Ramon Santiago.

Mike Hessman hit his International League-leading 21st home run of the season in the ninth to close out the scoring as seven Hens collected hits, including Henry Mateo and Chris Shelton who had three each.

"We're putting everything together right now as far as our pitching and hitting," Mateo said.

"Everything is going through [the infield] and we're taking advantage of everything. We're working a lot with our hitting coach and we're doing everything right."

Jordan Tata was the beneficiary of all that run support, but he did quite a bit to help his own cause. Tata (1-1) surrendered a leadoff home run to Brennan King in the second inning and then gave up a run on three hits in the sixth. Otherwise he was in control over seven innings.

"We got a tremendous job from Tata," interim manager Mike Rojas said, excusing his starter for the one bad pitch on the home run.

"King can swing the bat. You have to give him credit. He got a pitch over the plate and took advantage of it. But I liked the way [Tata] threw his fastball. He mixed his pitches well, he pitched in and out and hit his spots. It's good to see, especially with him having been on the DL, his pitch count being built up."

The win was the 13th for the Mud Hens in their last 17 road games. They're hitting well and the bullpen has allowed just three runs over its last 38 innings. Put all those numbers together and that's why the club is fighting for top spot in the West Division.

The Mud Hens will attempt to sweep the four-game series with the Lynx when they meet in the finale this afternoon at 1:05. Ron Chiavacci (6-4, 3.54) will make his 12th start for Toledo and the Lynx will send Eude Brito (1-3, 7.85) to the hill.

NOTE: John Connolly, a left-hand pitcher with Double-A Erie SeaWolves, has been called up to make a spot start for the Hud Hens tomorrow against Indianapolis. Connolly of Oneonta, N.Y., is 3-3, with a save and a 4.29 ERA. He has pitched one game this season for the Mud Hens, winning the first game of a doubleheader against Louisville on May 17. He threw for seven innings in the 1-0 victory.



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