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Published: Tuesday, 7/24/2007

Game gets away from Hens

BY BRUCE R. WELLS
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

RICHMOND, Va. - Erick Almonte stood all alone at his shortstop position watching the celebration at home plate, a look of disbelief on his face. His teammates had already left the field for the sanctuary of the visitors clubhouse, but Almonte stood and stared.

His fielding error allowed Richmond to score the winning run in the ninth in a 4-3 victory over the Toledo Mud Hens that split yesterday's action and the four-game series.

Toledo beat Richmond 7-4 in the completion of Sunday's game that was resumed in the top of the sixth inning after being suspended because of a bomb threat. Almonte lead the Hens with three RBIs in that one.

"The ball was moving a lot, I was more trying to block it," Almonte said. "He may have hit it off the end of the bat, but the ball made a weird move and I didn't really know what to do and it hit off my glove."

Mud Hens starter Yorman Bazardo and Braves' righty Kyle Davies had matched each other pitch for pitch forthe first few innings.

Toledo score d arun in the third when Andre Torres singled, advanced to second on a Henry Mateo sacrifice bunt, took third on a wild pitch by Davies and came home on a single by Brent Clevlen.

Richmond knotted things in the home half of the third. Bazardo plunked Braves catcher Corky Miller, who then advanced on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a two-out hit by Martin Prado.

In the seventh, Mateo drew a one-out walk off Davies, stole second and scored on a single by Jack Hannahan for a 2-1 Hens lead.

In the bottom of the seventh, following a sacrifice fly by Miller, Vic Darensbourg - who relieved Bazardo with one out in the inning - uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Richmond to got up 3-2.

Toledo tied the game in the top of the ninth on another RBI single from Hannahan.

But with the bases full of Braves in the bottom of the ninth and two outs, the game slipped away from the Hens as the baseball bounced off Almonte's glove.

"It's a tough loss, a tough loss," said Mud Hens manager Mike Rojas. "A wild pitch earlier and then the error cost us the game and that can't happen at Triple-A - but it's going to and that's the way it is. You hope it doesn't happen and it will and unfortunately it did happen today."

NOTES: X-Rays revealed the extent of Kevin Hooper's injured hand and it wasn't good news. Hooper suffered a broken right index finger and will be lost for the remainder of the season. He was hit by a pitch during the seventh inning of Saturday's game. ... Hannahan continues to reach base at a phenomenal clip. The IL's leader in on-base percentage at .428 has reached base in 74 of 77 games he has started since April 14.



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