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Published: Friday, 6/29/2007

Lynx slip by Mud Hens

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Hens catcher Dane Sardinha talks with pitcher John Connolly after the Lynx scored.
Hens catcher Dane Sardinha talks with pitcher John Connolly after the Lynx scored.
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The Mud Hens streak of success had to end some time, right?

Last night was the time as Toledo dropped a 4-3 decision to Ottawa at Fifth Third Field.

The Lynx led by a single run almost all game long, and the Hens always seemed to be on the verge of scoring the runs or making the plays they needed to extend their winning streak past six games.

But Toledo never got that tying run and lost for just the second time in the last 11 contests and for just the 11th time in 42 games since May 17.

Right now we re not letting anything worry us, said Ryan Raburn, who hit a home run for the Hens.

You can t win every game sooner or later you re going to lose a few.

Tonight was just one of those [we lost]. We ve just got to put it behind us, come out and start winning again.

The Lynx drew first blood with a run in the opening inning off Toledo starter Jon Connolly. Chris Roberson started the game with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice by Joe Thurston, and came home on Brennan King s sacrifice fly.

As has been their custom recently, the Mud Hens wasted no time retying the game. Ramon Santiago singled off Ottawa starter Charlie Weatherby, then moved to second on Kevin Hooper s groundout.

Timo Perez scored Santiago with a double into the right-center gap.

But that tie lasted just three pitches into the second as Gary Burnham slammed his fifth home run of the season over the fence in right-center.

The Lynx stretched their advantage to 4-1 with two critical runs in the sixth. Roberson led off with a single but was caught stealing, and that proved fortunate when Thurston tripled into the right-field corner.

King was intentionally walked, but Randy Ruiz singled home Thurston and Burnham singled to load the bases. Jason Jaramillo hit a potential double-play grounder to Mike Hessman at third, but the ball bounced away then hit the baserunner and ricocheted back to Hessman, who threw Jaramillo out at first.

While Hessman got the out, King was able to score.

It was a bad hop, so it was lucky we got the one out and survived after that, Rojas said. It was a weird play all around.

But the missed double play became big when the Mud Hens scored twice in the sixth off former Hen John Ennis. With one out Raburn slammed his 16th home run of the season, a line shot just under the scoreboard in left, and singles by Chris Shelton, Mike Hessman and Jack Hannahan scored a second run.

But the potential tying run never scored because Hessman was thrown out at third on what appeared to be a double steal, and Chris Maples struck out to strand Hannahan at second.

It was a 3-1 count, so it wasn t a double steal we were trying to stay out of the double play, Rojas said. And the batter swung at ball four.

The Hens had one last chance in the ninth as pinch-hitter Henry Mateo lined a two-out double to right, but Dane Sardinha s hard grounder up the middle was snagged by Ottawa reliever Anderson Garcia, and Garcia ran to first himself to record the final out.

I liked our chances in the bottom of the ninth, Rojas said. Mateo had a great pinch-hit, and it was a good at-bat by Sardinha. Their pitcher snagged it; if it goes through, we re probably still playing.

Instead Toledo s six-game win streak matched the longest victory streak by last year s Governors Cup champions.

When you ve lost five, six, seven in a row you don t know what to do to win, Raburn said. But we ve been winning so much lately, we just have to come out and try to win the next one.

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com or 419-724-6481.



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