Hens can't deliver big hit against Red Sox

5/13/2009
BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Different day, same story.

The Mud Hens lost to Pawtucket at Fifth Third Field by a score of 2-1 last night, marking the fifth time Toledo has lost to the Red Sox this season.

"Down at their place we didn't hit, and [last night] we didn't hit," said the Hens' Mike Hessman, who accounted for Toledo's lone run with a ninth-inning homer.

"We got a good pitching performance from [starter] Chris Lambert, and the bullpen did its job. We just didn't get many legitimate scoring opportunities, and we didn't get those big hits when we needed them."

In the four games these teams played in Rhode Island the Mud Hens got good work from their pitching staff, which twice allowed just two runs.

Last night Lambert was strong, allowing only five hits and two runs - only one of which was earned - in seven innings.

"I thought Lambert pitched well," Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "We'll take two runs for every start."

The Red Sox used back-to-back two-out doubles by Chip Ambres and Chris Carter to score off Lambert in the first inning, then added a run in the third without using a hit.

After Sean Danielson led off the inning with a walk, Jonathan Van Every hit a grounder to first. Ryan Roberson stepped on first to retire Van Every, but his throw to second skipped into left field, allowing Danielson to move to third.

Danielson came home on a sacrifice fly by Ambres.

And that was too much for the Mud Hens to overcome. In eight innings against Pawtucket starter Enrique Gonzalez Toledo managed just four hits and four walks, striking out eight times.

The Hens struggled against Gonzalez in the right-hander's previous start against them five days earlier, picking up just nine hits and striking out seven times while scoring only once.

"He's got a good fastball, and his breaking ball was good," Parrish said of Gonzalez. "But what made him especially tough was his ability to change speeds."

Once Gonzalez left, the Mud Hens made things interesting in the ninth as Hessman greeted Pawtucket reliever Fernando Cabrera by drilling a long home run to left-center, Hessman's fourth homer of the year.

Don Kelly followed with a single to right, then stole second base to put the tying run in scoring position with none out.

But Cabrera struck out Roberson, Brent Dlugach and Dusty Ryan to collect his fifth save of the season.

That left the Mud Hens

0-for-8 with runners in scoring position last night - and six of those outs were the result of strikeouts as Toledo continued to struggle when hitting with runners on base.

"We're working on it," was all Parrish said.

NOTES: OF Wilkin Ramirez was diagnosed with an inflamed ligament in his right thumb and did not play for the second straight game. Parrish said he did not know when Ramirez would be able to return to the lineup. Pawtucket C Carlos Maldonado left the game in the fourth because of a hamstring injury. Red Sox manager Ron Johnson said Maldonado's status is day-to-day.