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Published: Friday, 5/15/2009

Chiavacci, Stanley keep Hens on roll

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

As Ron Chiavacci was finishing his lunch yesterday, he found out he would be the starting pitcher for the Mud Hens last night.

Chiavacci prepared for his first start in three weeks by taking a long drive in the country and relaxing.

Whatever he and the rest of Toledo's bullpen did last night against Pawtucket, it worked. The Hens defeated the Red Sox 8-0 at Fifth Third Field to pitch their second shutout in a row.

"We're working as hard as we should be working to get to where we're at now," Chiavacci said. "Our ultimate goal is to do what we did today."

The Hens improved to 16-18 and have won three of four. Chiavacci pitched four innings and recorded seven strikeouts in replacing Lucas French, who missed his scheduled start because he was called up to Detroit early yesterday.

Right-hander Pat Stanley, in his first Triple-A appearance, earned the win with five strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings of relief. Before last night Stanley had never pitched higher than Single-A ball.

"I didn't want to let nerves get the best of me," Stanley said. "I felt comfortable out there. I tried to hit spots and not try to do too much.

"We like to go out there and get wins too."

Chiavacci and Stanley each found themselves in bases-loaded jams with two outs, but both struck out second baseman Travis Denker to end the inning in the fourth and the sixth.

Fu-Te Ni and Freddy Dolsi completed the shutout against the Red Sox (19-14). Mike Hessman and Dusty Ryan each slugged two-run homers for the Hens. Ryan was 3-for-3 with four RBI, and Will Rhymes also had two hits.

Hessman also stole his first base of the year. The Hens lead the International League with 47 stolen bases.

"The game just sort of went according to plan," Hens manager Larry Parrish said.

Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson pointed to a key play in the top of the first inning as one reason for the Red Sox's loss. Right fielder Sean Danielson started the game off with a bunt single and stole second base. When the next batter, Jon Van Every, hit a grounder to shortstop Danielson took off for third, and Danny Worth was able to tag him out.

"We knew we had the other team in a bullpen game, so you're hoping their starter doesn't go four innings. When he did, the purpose of the game was defeated," Johnson said. "It was more than just a baserunning mistake. Instead of sitting with runners on first and second and nobody out in a bullpen game, we had one out and a guy on first and momentum slides to them."

Chiavacci has allowed one earned run in his last nine innings pitched. The Hens pitching staff has allowed just four runs in the last four games.

"We've pitched much better the whole homestand," Parrish said. "That's what you expect at your home ballpark."

NOTES: To replace French, right-hander Brooks Brown was promoted to Toledo from Double-A Erie and should be available today. ... Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, recovering from a mild shoulder strain, will start tonight for Pawtucket.

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

mfulton@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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