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Published: Thursday, 5/1/2008

Louisville stops streaking Hens

BY JEFF ROBINSON
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

LOUISVILLE - The Mud Hens saw two streaks come to an end yesterday in a rare morning game at Slugger Field.

A two-run single by Paul Janish in the seventh inning off Jon Connolly (0-3) lifted Louisville to a 4-3 win over Toledo. Prior to the loss, the Mud Hens had won seven straight games and boasted a road-winning streak of six.

Toledo remains atop the International League West, with a 1 1/2-game lead over the second-place Bats, but the Mud Hens have lost three of four against Louisville this season.

With an 11:05 a.m. start time, the teams took the field little more than 13 hours after Toledo's win over the Bats Tuesday night. The entire IL played morning games yesterday.

"I don't like the morning games," Toledo manager Larry Parrish said. "Our schedule is set up for night games. To have to bounce back and play in the morning doesn't feel like it gives your body a chance to bounce back and regroup."

The Mud Hens fell behind 2-0 in the third on two unearned runs that scored after shortstop Derek Wathan made an error to allow leadoff hitter Andy Green to reach base. With one out Jay Bruce tripled off the wall in right, scoring Green to make it 1-0. Bruce scored two pitches later on a long fly ball to right by Andy Phillips.

Wathan made two errors in the game.

Toledo cut the lead in half in the fourth when Clete Thomas walked and later scored on a force out by Jackson Melian, who narrowly beat shortstop Paul Janish's relay throw to first to avoid an inning-ending double play.

Connolly offered an intriguing contrast to the Bats' hard-throwing Homer Bailey (4-2). Connolly, a left-hander, consistently kept Louisville hitters off stride with a mix of curves and sliders ranging between 70 and 80 mph.

Connolly got in trouble in the first when three straight batters singled to load the bases after leadoff hitter Green grounded out. But Connolly got Jolbert Cabrera to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. In innings two through six, the Bats had only two hits off Connolly.

The Mud Hens did little against Bailey. The right-hander consistently hit the mid-90s on the radar gun and allowed five hits, while striking out a season-high 10 over seven innings.

After flailing through six innings, Toledo reached Bailey with a couple of big hits in the seventh. Melian singled with one out, and Erick Almonte followed with a line-drive home run to left-center, his third of the season, to give the Mud Hens a 3-2 lead.

Louisville again loaded the bases with none out against Connolly in the seventh, but this time he was unable to escape the jam. Janish rolled a one-out single into left to score Luis Bolivar and Chris Dickerson and put Louisville back on top 4-3. Connolly left after 62/3 innings. He allowed eight hits, two earned runs, walked none and struck out one.

"Even in the seventh inning, Connolly gave up a couple of bunt singles and then got a ground ball that barely got by the third baseman," Parrish said. "Connolly did everything he was supposed to do today."



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