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Published: Friday, 8/15/2008

Mud Hens fall to Louisville

BY JOE VARDON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Max St-Pierre fields a throw, but it's too late to get Louisville's Luis Bolivar during the fifth inning at Fifth Third Field. Max St-Pierre fields a throw, but it's too late to get Louisville's Luis Bolivar during the fifth inning at Fifth Third Field.
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Losing at the pace the Mud Hens are losing games, not to mention the juncture at which they're losing them, turns a long season into an eternity.

With last night's 4-2 loss to Louisville, Toledo has dropped three of its last four and 10 of 12, and less than three weeks remain in a regular season that can't end fast enough.

Hens manager Larry Parrish is worried that because his players can see the finish line - the last of their remaining 18 games is Sept. 1 - they'll let their struggles get the better of them.

"This is the time of year you've got to keep fighting," Parrish said. "It's easier to let it beat you down if you're struggling this time of year than in May. In May, you think you've got a lot of season left. But when you start struggling at this time of year, you think, 'I've got two weeks to go of this and then I'll be home.'•"

The conclusion of last night's game was prolonged after Bats pitcher Matt Belisle was injured with two outs while stretching for an errant throw covering first base.

Both teams waited several minutes while Louisville closer Jon Adkins warmed up. Once he was ready, he struck out pinch hitter Dusty Ryan with the tying runs on base to end it.

If you're still keeping track, the loss dropped the Hens 12 games behind the Bats for first place in the International League West. Toledo went 7-14 against Louisville this year.

"Man, I'm tired of losing," Parrish said with a sigh.

At least Parrish's bunch made it interesting. Trailing 4-1 heading into the ninth, Jeff Larish and Erick Almonte each singled, and Larish scored on Luis Bolivar's bad throw that led to Belisle's injury.

Parrish's problem was with the first eight innings. Toledo managed just one run on four hits against Bats starter Matt Maloney and reliever Josh Roenicke, the lone run coming on Kody Kirkland's second-inning homer.

"It wasn't exactly Sandy Koufax out there," Parrish said.

Mud Hens third baseman Kody Kirkland watches the flight of his home run during the second inning last night at Fifth Third Field. It was Kirkland s third home run with the Mud Hens.
Mud Hens third baseman Kody Kirkland watches the flight of his home run during the second inning last night at Fifth Third Field. It was Kirkland s third home run with the Mud Hens.
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Lost for answers, Parrish said he turned to Toby Harrah, Detroit's minor league hitting coordinator, for any kind of advice.

"I said, 'Toby, if you've got anything right now, I'll take it,'•" Parrish said.

NOTES: The Tigers optioned reliever Freddy Dolsi to Toledo yesterday following Detroit's 5-1 victory over Toronto. Dolsi, 25, skipped Triple-A when the Tigers promoted him from Double-A Erie to the big leagues May 3. He went 1-4 with two saves and a 3.96 ERA in 33 games for Detroit in his first stint as a major

leaguer. The right-hander had never pitched above Double-A prior to this season. Reliever Matt Rusch was sent back to Erie to make room for Dolsi. Rusch was only with the Hens this time for one day, promoted Wednesday to take Francis Beltran's place. The Hens begin an eight-game road trip tonight in Richmond. Left-hander Dontrelle Willis is scheduled to pitch for Toledo for the first time since being promoted from Single-A Lakeland earlier this week. The Hens' final homestand this year begins a week from tomorrow. Brent Clevlen (fatigue) didn't play for the second straight game. Freddy Guzman (finger) pinch-ran in the ninth inning and stole his league-high 46th base, but Parrish said he won't be able to bat for the next few days.



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