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Published: Monday, 5/3/2010

Mud Hens held to 4 hits in shutout by Knights

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Charlotte third baseman C.J. Retherford tags out Jeff Larish in the fourth inning during Sunday's game at Fifth Third Field. Charlotte third baseman C.J. Retherford tags out Jeff Larish in the fourth inning during Sunday's game at Fifth Third Field.
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Charlotte starter Daniel Hudson got pounded in an April 27 start at Columbus, allowed eight hits and nine runs without getting a single out in the second inning.

But the pitcher who took the Fifth Third Field mound for the Knights yesterday didn't look like a pitcher who had a 9.37 ERA and a .357 opponent's batting average.

"If you've never seen a guy before, and you see he has a nine ERA, you're not expecting the stuff we saw," Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "He had good stuff, and he kept getting outs."

Hudson allowed four hits in seven shutout innings, fanning 10 Hens to pitch Charlotte to a 4-0 victory.

"I was just trying to establish the fastball," said Hudson, who lowered his season's ERA to 6.56 with his effort yesterday. "They are an aggressive team, so I was just trying to let them get themselves out.

"I had a couple of bad outings my last two starts - I was up in the [strike] zone a lot."

Hudson allowed seven hits and eight runs, four of which were earned, in 4.1 innings in a loss at Durham April 22, but that wasn't nearly as bad as his start against the Clippers.

"I felt really good in the bullpen, but when I got on the mound [in Columbus] I was a completely different person," Hudson said. "I had to get that out of my head.

"I was leaving a bunch of pitches up, and a good team is going to crush that."

In the first inning yesterday Hudson struggled with his command, walking a pair of Hens and throwing only 10 of 18 pitches for strikes. But he was in command after that, throwing first-pitch strikes to 17 of the 26 Hens he faced, not allowing a walk, and reaching a three-ball count to just two batters after the first.

Of his 75 pitches after the first, 49 were strikes.

"I had been working on so much stuff between starts, I think I was a little timid at first [yesterday]," Hudson admitted. "I was trying to place the ball instead of just throwing it.

"After that inning I decided to just trust my stuff, throw it over the plate and see what they could do with it."

Toledo didn't do much against Hudson; the Hens never got a runner to third base and were 0-for-7 when batting with a runner in scoring position.

"We had six hits, and one guy - Will Rhymes - had three of them," Parrish said. "We had a guy on second base a few times, but we never had a thought about sending a guy [home], that's for sure."

The Knights scratched out a run against Toledo starter Alfredo Figaro in the first inning. Alejandro De Aza singled and stole second, moved to third on a grounder and scored on a groundout by Jordan Danks.

Charlotte added a pair of runs in the third when Rob Hudson doubled, took third on a sacrifice by Javier Colina, and came home on a groundout by De Aza. C.J. Retherford singled, and Danks followed with a double that plated Retherford.

The Knights knocked Figaro out of the game with a run in the seventh. Rob Hudson singled, was sacrificed to second by Colina, and scored on a two-out single by Retherford.

"[Figaro] didn't have his 'A' game," Parrish said. "He was up [in the strike zone] and he didn't have a breaking ball early.

"He couldn't keep the ball down, and in the first three innings he was spiraling every breaking ball. Every ball they hit was letter-high."

NOTES: Before the game the Mud Hens placed C Mike Rabelo on the disabled list with left knee problems. Toledo added C Angel Flores to the roster; Flores has spent April in extended spring training. … A steady rain began to fall in the seventh, then picked up again in the bottom of the ninth, but play was never halted. … De Aza hurt his wrist diving to catch the line drive to left by Larish in the fourth and left the game.

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.com

or 419-724-6481.



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