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Published: Tuesday, 4/14/2009

Solid debut by Lugo pushes Hens past Bats

BY JOSH COOK
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

LOUISVILLE - A pair of big flies, one big inning and a big debut by Ruddy Lugo led Toledo to victory Monday night.

The Mud Hens rebounded from their first loss of the season with a 6-5 win over the Louisville Bats at Louisville Slugger Field.

Will Rhymes went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Ryan Raburn hit a two-run home run and Wilkin Ramirez a solo shot for Toledo (4-1), which built a 6-1 lead behind Lugo.

The right-hander, who was 7-12 last season with New Orleans of the Pacific Coast League, scattered five hits and three earned runs over seven innings while striking out three and walking none. He retired the Bats in order in four of the first six innings. The Hens were coming off a 3-2 14-inning loss Sunday at Indianapolis.

"He pitched very well on the night that we needed it," Toledo manager Larry Parrish said. "Early in the year like this, starters are on a limited pitch count (Lugo threw 72 pitches); we've had to use the bullpen a lot and then yesterday with 14 innings ... we were hoping for rain today."

Rain fell before and after the game, but the weather was fine for the two hours, 22 minutes in between.

Early on, it was Toledo that brought the thunder.

Rhymes led off the game with a double, and Raburn ended an 0-for-13 streak with a two-run homer to left field as Toledo jumped to a 2-0 lead.

The Hens, who hit just two homers in their first series, padded their lead in the fourth when Ramirez launched a two-out offering from Louisville starter Sam Lecure high over the left field fence.

Toledo broke the game open in the seventh, scoring three times, with help from two Bats blunders.

Matt Hessman led off against Louisville reliever Jeff Kennard with a high fly ball that centerfielder Drew Stubbs lost in the evening sky. It dropped in for a double to end an 0-for-14 streak for Hessman.

Ramirez followed with a walk, then Clete Thomas hit a bouncer between second and third, but the Bats' double-play attempt failed on errant throw by second baseman Adam Rosales. Dusty Ryan flew out, but back-to-back RBI doubles by Brent Dlugach and Rhymes made it 6-1 Toledo.

Louisville finally got to Lugo in the seventh. Kevin Barker doubled, and Rosales launched a line-drive homer to make it 6-3.

"He didn't walk anybody, that was key," Parrish said. "The other starters have been on the same pitch count, and they only went five and he went seven."

The Bats added two runs in the bottom of the ninth off reliever Scott Williamson. But Louisville No. 9 hitter Craig Tatum grounded out to end the game and give Williamson his second save.

Today, Toledo right-hander Chris Lambert will go against Louisville righty Homer Bailey.



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