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Published: Saturday, 5/1/2010

Mud Hens manager reaches milestone

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Larry Parrish, left, talks with Ryan Strieby. Parrish managed his 1,000th game with the Hens to put him second in team history. Larry Parrish, left, talks with Ryan Strieby. Parrish managed his 1,000th game with the Hens to put him second in team history.
JEREMY WADSWORTH / THE BLADE Enlarge | Buy This Photo

There was no cake, no fireworks, no signs of a celebration at Fifth Third Field last night.

And there were no presents for Larry Parrish in his 1,000th game as Mud Hens manager as Toledo suffered a 2-1 loss to Syracuse in front of a sellout crowd of 10,300.

Parrish said he didn't remember his first game as skipper of the Hens. That game took place in early May of 1994 when, as Detroit's roving hitting instructor, he took over after then-manager Joe Sparks quit.

"I have no idea; should I remember it?" he said yesterday. "I only had clothes with me to stay for a couple of days."

But there have been a lot of good memories between then and now, including Governors' Cup titles in 2005 and '06.

"There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then, and this is leaps and bounds better," Parrish said. "The first time we were in the old ballpark, which was a terrible stadium and baseball field.

"There are a lot of good vibes here: it's a great place to play, and you couldn't find a better place to manage than right here."

Parrish ranks second on the all-time list of Toledo games managed behind Cal Ermer, who led the Hens in 1,115 games from 1978-85. Parrish's 512 victories with the Hens is second only to Ermer's total of 540.

Last night Parrish got to manage a pitcher's duel between the Chiefs' Andrew Kown and Toledo's Armando Galarraga. The game was scoreless until the seventh, when Syracuse scored a pair of two-out runs that essentially decided the game.

With no one on base, Galarraga gave up back-to-back singles to Carlos Maldonado and Eric Bruntlett. Pete Orr then lined a 1-0 pitch into the right-field corner; Maldonado scored easily, while Bruntlett also made it home on a close play at the plate.

"[Galarraga] did a great job, but they got to him quickly at the end," Parrish said. "He dropped down sidearm, and Maldonado still got a hit.

"Then [Bruntlett] hit a liner and [Orr] hit a liner, and that was it."

The ball actually arrived at home before Bruntlett, but catcher Mike Rabelo caught the ball well in front of the plate, allowing Bruntlett to slide away from the tag with what proved to be the winning run.

"The ump said the guy got his hand in there," said Parrish, who went out to discuss the call with home-plate ump Manny Gonzalez."

Galarraga finished with just eight hits allowed in seven innings and collected eight strikeouts, a season-high for a Toledo pitcher. But he was saddled with the loss, and the Hens managed just eight hits and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position to strand seven baserunners.

"Guys on both sides pitched well," Parrish said. "We had a bunch of chances, but we just couldn't get a hit."

Toledo avoided its first shutout loss this season when Brent Dlugach slammed his first home run of the year with two outs in the ninth.

"I told Dlugach, 'If the first two guys get on base, you'll bunt them over. If they don't get on, hit a homer,'" Parrish said. "Unfortunately, we didn't get a guy on base in front of him."

But that hit alone wasn't enough to give the Hens a win in Parrish's milestone contest.

"This was a good ball game," Parrish said. "But you'd rather win ugly than lose pretty."

NOTES: Parrish did receive a gift of sorts from Detroit's roving staff as Kevin Bradshaw relieved the Hens' skipper of coaching duties at third base. Besides Bradshaw, the Tigers' roving infield coordinator, other minor-league instructors at the game were outfield/baserunning coordinator Gene Roof, pitching coordinator Jon Matlack and field coordinator Mike Rojas. Roof (1997-99) and Rojas (2007) both are former Toledo managers.

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.com

or 419-724-6481.



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