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Published: Sunday, 7/27/2008

Bonine, Perez lead Hens to victory over Pawtucket

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Eddie Bonine pitched a brilliant game for the Mud Hens last night to improve to 11-2. He gave up no runs and just one hit over seven innings with seven strikeouts. Eddie Bonine pitched a brilliant game for the Mud Hens last night to improve to 11-2. He gave up no runs and just one hit over seven innings with seven strikeouts.
JEREMY WADSWORTH / THE BLADE Enlarge | Buy This Photo

The 500th Mud Hens game at Fifth Third Field wasn't a whole lot different than the first 499.

There was a full house last night, which was to be expected. There was plenty of strong defense and good pitching by Toledo, which isn't uncommon. And there was a Hens home run - by Timo Perez - which has become a staple.

There also was a 1-0 victory by the home team over Pawtucket, the 293rd victory by Toledo in seven seasons.

The biggest reason the Hens were able to claim a win in the historic contest "and snap a four-game losing streak" was a fine effort by starter Eddie Bonine, who shut down the Red Sox on one hit over seven innings.

"We beat a great team, so this is good for our confidence," Bonine said. "I was trying to mix up my pitches, and they hit a lot of balls at people.

"Me and [catcher] Max [St-Pierre] did a good job of mixing up speeds, and when they hit the ball it was at someone. That's the way it goes some times."

Bonine struck out seven and walked only one. The win was his 11th for the Mud Hens this season and his second since a promotion to Detroit shortly before the All-Star break.

"I'd like to feel I'm not [different], but when you go up there you go through some really nervous games," Bonine said. "There's a different confidence that you have when you come back down, knowing you've gone through some things you never thought you'd go through."

The closest Pawtucket came to scoring off Bonine was in the second, when the right-hander hit leadoff man Gil Velazquez with a pitch and Jonathan Van Every sacrificed Velazquez to second.

But Bonine struck out Jeff Bailey and got Joe Thurston to pop out, the first two of nine consecutive batters Bonine retired.

The Red Sox also had a chance to score in the seventh when Bonine hit Keith Ginter with two outs, but Clete Thomas made a fine diving catch of Jeff Corsaletti's sinking liner to keep Pawtucket off the board.

"It would be all God's work if I threw a one-hitter," Bonine said. "We played some great defense, so I never thought about that. I just thought about pounding the strike zone and giving our team the best chance to win."

Bonine threw first-pitch strikes to 17 of the 25 hitters he faced and threw 60 of his 98 pitches for strikes.

"He was aggressive in and out, and had late movement on the ball," Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "When you give him a game plan, he can implement it."

The game's only run came in the fourth, when Perez cranked the first pitch of the inning by Pawtucket starter Michael Bowden into the Roost for his 12th home run of the season.

Otherwise Toledo managed just seven hits and missed out on scoring chances in the first, fourth and eighth.

Thanks to Bonine and relievers Francisco Cruceta and Blaine Neal, each of whom threw a scoreless inning, that wasn't a problem.

"We scored just enough," Parrish said. "Our offense wasn't good, but it was good enough. That's because Bonine was really good, and the bullpen did a good job."

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.com

or 419-724-6481.



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