From the Mud Hens point of view, last night s game with Norfolk was worth the wait.
The Hens weren t affected by rain that delayed the start of last night s game by exactly two hours. They scored three runs in the first inning and shut out the Tides through eight to cruise to a 6-1 victory.
The victory snapped a three-game losing streak by the Hens and helped them maintain a seven-game lead over Indianapolis in the International League s West Division. The Indians won at Louisville 2-1.
The Mud Hens used several gifts from the Tides to score three runs in the opening inning despite collecting just one hit. Henry Mateo drew a leadoff walk from Norfolk starter Jim Johnson, then stole second before moving to third on Erick Almonte s groundout.
After Timo Perez was hit by a pitch, Marcus Thames singled through the hole at short to score Mateo. Jack Hannahan followed with a walk to load the bases.
Brent Clevlen hit a slow roller to second and avoided a double play by beating the relay to first, allowing Perez to score. Chris Shelton then hit a grounder to third and the throw by the Tides Mike Cervenak pulled first baseman J.R. House off the base, allowing Shelton to reach and Thames to score.
In the fifth the Mud Hens tacked on two more runs when Almonte walked and Perez drilled his 12th home run of the season, a line drive just under The Roost down the right-field line.
The Hens finished the scoring in the seventh by taking advantage of two more walks. With one out former Mud Hen pitcher Steve Green walked Perez, then gave Hannahan a free pass with two outs.
Clevlen drove in Perez with a line single to left.
That was more than enough support for Hens starter Anastacio Martinez and the bullpen.
Martinez held the Tides hitless through the first five innings, facing just one batter above the minimum thanks to a walk to Alberto Castillo leading off the third. The Hens right-hander lost the no-hitter in the sixth when Bo Hart lined a double down the third-base line.
Cesar Crespo followed with a single to left that put runners on first and third with no outs. But Martinez kept Norfolk off the board by retiring Tike Redman, Val Majewski and House on three fly balls.
Eulogio De La Cruz allowed just one baserunner in two scoreless innings, but Majewski spoiled the shutout in the ninth by drilling the first pitch by Jose Capellan well over the fence in right for his first homer of the year.
Capellan, making his first appearance for the Hens since his demotion from Detroit on Friday, then retired the final three hitters to complete the four-hit victory.
NOTES: SS Ramon Santiago, who is on the disabled list with a broke right ring finger, took some swings in the batting cage before yesterday s game. He is expected to take live batting practice today and might return to the active roster by the end of the homestand. C Andrew Graham, who is on the disabled list with a sore right elbow, threw on the field before yesterday s game. He also is expected to take batting practice today and might return to the roster soon. Thames originally was scheduled to play left field last night but was moved to DH due to the wet field. Thames is expected to play for the Hens again tonight, then rejoin Detroit tomorrow.
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