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Published: Saturday, 5/9/2009

IronPigs rally in 9th to beat Hens

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

To paraphrase a bit of hunting wisdom, some days you get the Pig, and some days the Pig gets you.

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs got the last laugh on Bacon Lovers Night at Fifth Third Field last night, scoring twice in the top of the ninth to claim a 5-4 victory over the Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field.

The loss was Toledo s fifth in a row and eighth in the last 10 games.

We re scuffling a little bit, said last night s starter, Eddie Bonine. Obviously it would have been huge for us [to win], but some breaks didn t go our way.

As a team, I think we need to battle a little more every inning, every pitch. If we do that, I think some things will happen to the good for us.

It was the bullpen that cost the Hens the victory last night as Freddy Dolsi hit two batters and gave up a double to tie the game in the ninth, while Clay Rapada surrendered a bases-loaded walk to Andy Tracy to force home the winning run.

We had a situation where we had a lead, and we had the guy out there that we wanted [Dolsi], Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. We just got a little wild and didn t locate.

Two hit batters and a bases-loaded walk that s what beat us. Some times you get beat, but you can t beat yourself like that.

But the offense must take an equal share of blame for last night s setback. Toledo finished with just six hits, scoring all four of its runs on two-run homers by Ryan Roberson in the fourth and Wilkin Ramirez in the sixth.

We got a couple of big homers, but we really didn t string anything together, Parrish said. We had opportunities with runners on third base [and less than two out], and all we need is a ground ball to score the run.

That s one thing we ve struggled with: just hitting the ground ball when we need it.

Three times the Hens pushed a runner to third base with less than two outs, including the bottom of the ninth. But in all three situations Toledo got nothing because hitters struck out instead of putting the ball in play.

After the start of the game was delayed 48 minutes by rain, the IronPigs scored a run in the first on an RBI single by Mike Cervenak, then added two runs in the second thanks to a two-run double by Jason Ellison.

Bonine settled down after that, retiring the final two hitters in the second, then setting down 13 of the next 14 IronPigs until wiggling out of a jam in the seventh.

I think I started commanding pitches better, Bonine said. It was just one of those outings where you need to get back to the basics. I needed to focus on making pitches.

The Hens used the two homers to take a lead into the ninth, but left the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning as they rallied to try and retie the game.

NOTES: Before the game the Mud Hens added outfielder Jeff Frazier to the roster. Frazier, who hit .322 with a home run and 13 RBIs in 23 games for Double-A Erie, took the roster spot vacated when Clete Thomas was promoted to Detroit on Tuesday. Diasuke Matsuzaka is expected to make a start in Toledo on May 15. Matsuzaka, the Japanese right-hander is on a rehab assignment with Pawtucket.

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



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