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Published: Monday, 7/14/2008

Hens' streak ends

BY PETE CAVA
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis Indians edged Toledo 4-3 yesterday before a crowd of 11,100 to snap the Mud Hens' six-game win streak.

The loss leaves Toledo one game behind Louisville in the International West Division heading into the Triple-A All-Star break. The Hens' next game is Thursday at Pawtucket.

Mike Hessman, Toledo's all-star third baseman, warmed up for tonight's Triple-A home run derby with his 30th round-tripper of the year. Hessman, who went 2-for-4, leads the league in homers, extra-base hits (52) and runs scored (76).

"Yeah, one game out - that's great," said acting Hens manager Leon Durham. "We took three out of four, so that was perfect."

Durham was in charge while skipper Larry Parrish attended yesterday's Futures Game at Yankee Stadium.

The Hens nicked Indians starter Jimmy Barthmaier for a pair of runs in the first inning. With two out, Timo Perez extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a double to right. Then Hessman homered to left.

"It was a 1-0 breaking ball, down and away," said Hessman, "and I just hooked it enough."

The 13-year pro said he's hoping for a strong second half to "see what happens at the end of the season."

Toledo starter Zach Miner (0-1) struck out the first three Indians, but hit a bump in the second. Steve Pearce opened the inning with a single and stole second. One out later, Pearce raced home on Matt Kata's hit. Kata took third on a double by Ryan Mulhern, but Miner ended the threat by striking out the next two batters.

In the third Freddy Guzman led off with a bunt single and stole second. One out later, Guzman took off for third and when Perez singled to left, the Hens took a 3-1 advantage.

Indianapolis scored again in the bottom of the third. Nyjer Morgan beat out a hit, stole second and went to third on Brian Bixler's infield single. Neil Walker's sacrifice fly scored Morgan to make it 3-2.

The Indians (45-53) tied the score in the fourth. With one out, Mulhern lashed a single. After Josh Wilson flew out, Mulhern rode home on a two-base hit by Carlos Maldonado that barely eluded center fielder Brent Clevlen.

"I didn't get a real good read off the bat," said Clevlen, also an IL all-star. "It carried well, just out of my reach."

Miner began to fade in the fifth, giving up a one-out base on balls to Walker followed by a single by Pearce. With runners at the corners, Ian Ostlund came in from the bullpen. The left-hander uncorked a wild pitch that brought in Walker, putting the Indians ahead 4-3.

Barthmaier (3-1) lasted six innings, striking out six along with a walk and three hits. Marino Salas, Juan Perez, Franklyn German and Matt Miller - who recorded his eighth save of the year - combined to blank the Hens the rest of the way.

Perez's streak is the longest of the year by a Mud Hen. The right fielder went 2-for-3 yesterday, lifting his average to .298. Since beginning the spree against Louisville on June 28, Perez has gone 25-for-63 (.397).



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