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Thursday, December 25, 2014
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Published: Tuesday, 7/29/2008

Mud Hens auditioning for closer

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Toledo s Erick Almonte, left, high-fives teammate Kody Kirkland after hitting a home run in the eighth against Pawtucket. Toledo s Erick Almonte, left, high-fives teammate Kody Kirkland after hitting a home run in the eighth against Pawtucket.
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The Mud Hens began auditions for the closer s role yesterday, and the two top candidates for the job both fared well in Toledo s extra-inning win over Pawtucket.

Francis Beltran and Francisco Cruceta both threw well in their first appearances since closer Blaine Neal left to join the Olympic team yesterday. Both covered two innings in helping the Hens claim a 5-4 victory.

Beltran covered the eighth and ninth, holding the Red Sox hitless and striking out two while walking one. The batter he walked, Gil Velazquez, scored an unearned run thanks to a two-out error by shortstop Derek Wathan, one of three errors the Hens made behind him.

Beltran seems to be the unluckiest guy we ve got, Toledo manager Larry Parrish said. We make errors when he pitches, and I don t know what it is. It s like a starter who pitches every time his team doesn t score.

Beltran pitches when we re due to make an error.

It s been like that all year, and usually he gets an L for it.

Cruceta held Pawtucket scoreless in the 10th and 11th, pitching around a one-out double in the 10th and two walks in the 11th.

That s the hesitation we have with Cruceta the walks, Parrish said. Beltran throws more strikes.

Ian Ostlund gave up just one walk in two scoreless innings before Beltran and Cruceta, marking his eighth consecutive scoreless appearance. Ostlund has logged 122/3 innings in that span, giving up just five hits and three walks while striking out out 16.

Newcomer Casey Fien got the win in his first Triple-A appearance. Fien walked the first batter he faced, Velazquez, but struck out two others and got help when catcher Max St-Pierre caught Velazquez stealing.

BACK BEHIND THE MIC: Long-time Mud Hens broadcaster Frank Gilhooley was at the ballpark yesterday and was involved with the radio broadcast for all 12 innings.

Gilhooley, who has been a part of Mud Hens radio broadcasts for the previous 21 years, has been sidelined by health issues.

BONINE WINS AWARD: Eddie Bonine was named the IL pitcher of the week.

In two starts last week Bonine won twice, beating Rochester June 21 and then shutting out Pawtucket for seven innings five days later. In his two starts, Bonine allowed just six hits and four runs, only two of which were earned, in 141/3 innings.

On the season, Bonine is 11-2 with a 3.96 ERA for the Hens.

WORTH WAITS: Shortstop Danny Worth was in the original lineup yesterday but was scratched because of shoulder stiffness. Worth missed roughly a month of playing time for Double-A Erie because of the injury, coming off the disabled list last week.

Being an early game, he didn t have time to stretch it out, Parrish said of Worth. Hopefully [today] we ll have more time and he ll be ready to play.

THREE-DOT DATA: Timo Perez singled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. The Hens now are 4-2 in extra-inning games, while Pawtucket is 8-3.

Yesterday s crowd of 9,905 was the Toledo s 23rd sellout this season and the 198th in the seven-year history of Fifth Third Field. The Hens have played in front of a full house in their last five home games.



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