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Published: Thursday, 5/14/2009

Mud Hens use great pitching, a little luck

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

In a close, low-scoring game, the team that makes the fewest mistakes usually wins, right?

Well, the Mud Hens made several mistakes in the 10th inning yesterday - and they all paid off to produce the only run in Toledo's 1-0 victory over Pawtucket in a morning contest at Fifth Third Field.

"You need to catch some breaks," said Don Kelly, who scored the run. "[Eddie Bonine] pitched a great game, and [Clay] Buchholz pitched a great game.

"Sometimes you need a break to win the game, and it helps when you're at home and you get the last at-bat to try and score a run."

Bonine went nine innings, allowing just a one-out single to Dusty Brown in the second. The right-hander retired the 23 batters he faced following that hit, finishing with five strikeouts and no walks.

Kelly led off the 10th with a single off Red Sox reliever Billy Traber. Three pitches later a hit-and-run backfired, but Kelly managed to steal second, forcing Pawtucket to intentionally walk Ryan Roberson and set up a force.

The next batter, Will Rhymes, missed on an attempted sacrifice, and Kelly appeared to be picked off second. But instead of returning to second, Kelly raced to third and made it safely for a stolen base.

"You see more guys get thrown out at second base in that situation," Toledo manager Larry Parrish said. "[Kelly] is trying to get a lead, and if the batter missed the ball it can be trouble.

"But give credit to Kelly; he knew where he was. Once the throw went to second, he took off for third and made it."

On the next pitch Rhymes missed on a bunt attempt, but he atoned for that mistake by lining a single through the drawn-in infield to score Kelly.

"After all that, with the infield drawn in I was just trying make hard contact," Rhymes said. "I didn't try to do too much.

"We've struggled with men on third, fewer than two outs, so it felt good to execute."

The wacky finish was the exciting conclusion to a contest dominated by the two starting pitchers, Bonine of Toledo and Pawtucket's Buchholz. The pair allowed a combined five baserunners in 17 innings as neither team had a runner reach third until the Hens scored in the 10th.

Buchholz, who has thrown a no-hitter in the majors, gave up just four hits in eight innings and did not walk a batter while fanning 11. Of his 93 pitches, 71 were strikes, and Buchholz threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of the 28 batters he faced.

"That's the key: the best pitch in baseball is strike one," Buchholz said. "It's so much easier to pitch when you're ahead in the count."

But Bonine was his equal. He threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 28 hitters he faced and missed the strike zone on consecutive pitches just seven times in 106 pitches.

"I knew it was going to be a tough game, because [Buchholz] has great stuff," Bonine said.

Reliever Casey Fien, who got the win, struck out two in the 10th

inning.



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