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Published: Saturday, 6/13/2009

Lambert pitches Hens to win

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Hens second baseman Will Rhymes retires Rochester's Jason Pride, then completes the double play. Hens second baseman Will Rhymes retires Rochester's Jason Pride, then completes the double play.
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With their offense still struggling, the Mud Hens needed an outstanding effort Friday night from starter Chris Lambert.

They got it.

Lambert shut out Rochester on six hits scattered over 72/3 innings to pitch the Hens to a 2-1 victory. The right-hander, who walked one and struck out five to win his second straight start and improve to 3-5, knew even before the game started that he would have a chance to pitch well.

"My sinker was working early in the game, and my change-up was working well to get them off-balance," he said. "I could tell warming up what kind of game it was going to be because I was keeping the ball down in the bullpen.

"I didn't want to get deep in the count with these guys because it gave them more pitches to look at, and it would keep me from going deep into the game."

Lambert allowed a single in six of the eight innings he started, but he didn't allow a runner past second in any of those innings. The Red Wings' biggest threat against the 26-year-old came in the sixth, when Steve Tolleson walked and Jason Pridie singled him to second.

Lambert struck out Jose Morales, then got Justin Huber to ground into a double play to end the threat.

"That was two of the better hitters in their lineup, and I wanted to get outs," Lambert said. "I fell behind Huber 3-1, and he's a good hitter, so I just tried to keep him off-balance and have him hit the ball on the ground."

Lambert threw 104 pitches, 62 of which were strikes, and reached a three-ball count to just four of the 28 hitters he faced.

"I thought the fact that he threw strikes was the key," Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "He was throwing the ball in and out, and he stayed ahead in the count."

Freddy Dolsi allowed a run in the ninth on a two-out RBI single by Trevor Plouffe, but he claimed his third save because the Mud Hens had scored twice in the fourth.

That rally began with one out when Clete Thomas, who joined the Hens following his demotion by Detroit Thursday, lined a double to the wall in right-center. Jeff Larish was hit by a pitch from Rochester starter Bobby Keppel, and both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch.

With the infield back, Brent Clevlen's grounder scored Thomas.

Then Brent Dlugach, who is hitting .348 with runners in scoring position and two outs, came through with a single to center that brought Larish home.

"We needed Clevlen to put the ball in play there, and he did," Parrish said. "We needed Dlugach to give us a two-out hit, and he did.

"Dlugach has gotten a lot of two-out hits to drive in runs this season."

NOTES: RHP Ryan Perry, who left the Mud Hens before Thursday's game, officially was added to Detroit's roster yesterday. He replaced Jeremy Bonderman, who was placed on the disabled list. Toledo will play one pitcher short until RHP Eddie Bonine returns to the team. Parrish said he expects Bonine to rejoin the Hens when they begin a road trip in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Monday. Two members of the Rochester roster are the sons of former big leaguers. C Drew Butera is the son of Sal Butera, who played for the Hens from 1978-79, while Tolleson is the son of Wayne Tolleson.

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.com

or 419-724-6481.



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