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Published: Friday, 7/15/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Hens fall in Guillen’s final game

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Carlos Guillen turns a double play Friday night at Fifth Third Field in his final game with the Hens. Carlos Guillen turns a double play Friday night at Fifth Third Field in his final game with the Hens.
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The final night of Carlos Guillen’s rehab assignment with the Mud Hens ran the gamut of emotions as Toledo suffered a 7-3 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Fifth Third Field Friday night.

In the fourth inning, the emotion was pain: He was hit on the knee by a throw at second base, and he came up hobbling but stayed in the game.

In the seventh inning, the emotion was anger: He was called out on strikes on a pitch he thought was high, and in the process of arguing he was ejected by home-plate ump Toby Basner.

But after the game, the emotion was happiness: Guillen learned he would rejoin the Tigers on Saturday for their contest against the White Sox after missing nearly a full year because of a knee injury.

“It feels good — everything is fine,” Guillen said after Friday’s contest. “The ejection? That’s part of the game.

“The important thing is that I’m healthy, and now I get to go back up [to Detroit].”

What is the next step for Guillen?

“To stay healthy,” he said with a laugh. “I’m being called up, and I just want to do my best to help my team win.”

Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said he thought Guillen is ready to help the Tigers, even though the play where Guillen was hit at second base might have seemed scary to some.

“He got up and bounced around right away,” Nevin said. “By the time we got out there, he had walked it off and said he was good to go.

“He’s ready to go. He’s always been able to hit, and he’s swinging the bat well from both sides of the plate.

“Defensively he’s going to make the plays on the balls that he gets to, and he turned a nice double play. The main thing is that he’s healthy.”

As for the game itself, it was a 3-3 nail-biter until Hens reliever Jose Ortega, who dominated the Yankees in the seventh, gave up a walk, a single, and a walk to load the bases with one out in the eighth.

Enrique Gonzalez came on and nearly wiggled out of the jam. He struck out Doug Bernier, then got ahead of Kevin Russo 0-2 before Russo slammed the next pitch off the scoreboard in left for his second home run — and the Yankees’ first grand slam — of the season.

“Gonzo threw the ball great — but he made one mistake,” Nevin said. “He was trying to get [Russo] to bite on a pitch off the plate, but it ran over the plate. And Russo hit it.

“I trust Gonzo to throw strikes, and he’s the anchor of the bullpen. I’ll go to him again in a tough situation again.”

The Hens’ Jeff Kunkel unleashes a swing in the third inning. He was hitless as the Hens saw their four-game winning streak end. The Hens’ Jeff Kunkel unleashes a swing in the third inning. He was hitless as the Hens saw their four-game winning streak end.
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The grand slam spoiled an otherwise impressive effort for the Mud Hens, who rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to tie the game. Ryan Strieby had a clutch two-out RBI single to score a run in the first inning after Scranton/Wilkes-Barre had plated two in the top of the first.

Then after the Yankees scored once in the third, Toledo took advantage of the wildness of D.J. Mitchell to score in the fourth. Mitchell walked Guillen, Jeff Salazar, and Ben Guez to load the bases with one out, then hit Cale Iorg with a pitch to force home the run.

The Mud Hens had a potential game-tying run thrown out at home in the fifth, but bounced back to tie the game in the sixth. Guez and Argenis Diaz hit back-to-back one-out singles to put runners on first and third, and Iorg hit a sacrifice fly to right — with Guez just managing to touch home plate before he was tagged out.

“When we tied it up, there was no doubt in my mind we were going to win the game,” Nevin said. “Baseball is just funny the way it works.

“We had our chances with guys on base, but they got the big hit.”

NOTES: The Tigers announced that Al Alburquerque also would be activated from the disabled list Saturday. Detroit sent IF Danny Worth and RHP Ryan Perry to Toledo to make room for Guillen and Alburquerque. ... The Mud Hens sent RHPs L.J. Gagnier and Brendan Wise to Double-A Erie to make room for Worth and Perry on the roster. ... Guillen wasn’t the only player ejected Friday, as the Yankees’ Brandon Laird also got tossed for arguing a called third strike. ... Friday night’s crowd of 10,300 was the Mud Hens 14th sellout this season.

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com or 419-724-6481.



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