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Published: Tuesday, 7/29/2008

Mud Hens strike up a victory

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Freddy Guzman scores the winning run in the 12th inning when Pawtucket pitcher Lincoln Holdzkom threw a wild pitch for strike three. Freddy Guzman scores the winning run in the 12th inning when Pawtucket pitcher Lincoln Holdzkom threw a wild pitch for strike three.
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Here s all you need to know about the Mud Hens 5-4 win over Pawtucket at Fifth Third Field yesterday afternoon: The winning run scored on a walk-off strikeout.

That s right, a walk-off strikeout.

I think that s the way that game should have been won, Toledo manager Larry Parrish said. We ended up congratulating a guy after a nice strikeout. That was a crazy game.

The game-winning rally began when Freddy Guzman singled off reliever Lincoln Holdzkom with one out in the 12th. Guzman stole second on the first pitch to Clete Thomas, causing the PawSox to intentionally walk Thomas.

Guzman and Thomas executed a double-steal before Holdzkom struck out Brent Clevlen. Then Holdzkom struck out Timo Perez on a wicked curve ball inside, but the ball bounced past Pawtucket catcher Dusty Brown and rolled to the backstop.

Guzman scored easily, and Perez just beat Brown s throw to first to give the Hens their second win in the last seven games.

Guzman getting on base was a key for us, Parrish said. He created havoc on the bases, and without his steal of third, that strikeout isn t a run.

Guzman finished with four steals, marking the third time he has done that this season. He has 35 steals with the Hens and 46 including his month with Double-A Erie, one of the highest totals in the minors this year.

When I got the base hit, I wasgoing to try and put the winning run on second, Guzman said. When I was at second, I wanted to put the winning run on third. They threw the wild pitch, and it was good for us.

Things didn t look good for the Hens early, as starter Anastacio Martinez spent five innings weaving in and out of danger.

Pawtucket s Dusty Brown lined a bases-loaded double off Martinez for a pair of runs in the first, and a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Joe Thurston scored a run in the second.

But Martinez limited the damage, stranding five runners in the first two innings and nine over five innings. And the Mud Hens bullpen was terrific, allowing just one hit and one unearned run in seven innings to keep the Hens in the game.

Problem was, the Hens weren t able to take advantage of their opportunities due to a variety of miscues spread throughout the game. The most telling mistakes came in the fifth, when Guzman singled with two runners on base, but Max St-Pierre wasn t able to score from second.

He advanced only to third, then was thrown out at the plate when Brown tracked down a potential wild pitch and threw to Pawtucket starter Devern Hansack covering home.

Maxie didn t read the ball [on the Guzman single], but I still could have sent him because the right-fielder threw the ball to second instead of the cutoff man, Parrish said.

Then he tried to score on a ball that didn t get very far away from the catcher.

Thomas bailed out St-Pierre with a two-run double that tied the game. The PawSox scored an unearned run in the top of the eighth, but Erick Almonte slammed a two-out homer off Hunter Jones to retie the game.

Contact John Wagner at:jwagner@theblade.comor 419-724-6481.



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