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Mud Hens force Game 509/15/2006 10:56 PM ET
By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com
TOLEDO, Ohio -- Larry's Wall Bangers aren't done just yet.
Toledo used the long ball once again, this time in support of veteran Brian Boehringer, to earn a 6-0 victory over Rochester on Friday night at Fifth Third Field and knot the Governor's Cup Finals at two games apiece.
The decisive fifth game is here at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, with the victor advancing to Tuesday's Bricktown Showdown against the Pacific Coast League champion in Oklahoma City.
Larry Parrish's crew has used the long ball to gain the upper hand throughout the season and into the playoffs, and Friday night's affair was no exception. The Mud Hens went deep four times -- three against starter Pete Munro (0-1) -- scoring all their runs on homers to give Boehringer and a trio of relievers all the cushion they needed.
Boehringer, who was pitching for the first time since taking a line drive off the elbow last week against Charlotte, has a credible postseason resume, including a pair of World Series appearances with the Yankees  and San Diego . The experience of pitching on that grand stage was evident against Rochester as the veteran right-hander looked sharp from the outset.
He went 5 1/3 innings, scattering six hits, before getting ejected in a spirited sixth that also saw Toledo pitching coach Jeff Jones get tossed by home plate umpire Troy Fullwood. Boehringer declined to comment after the game, saying he doesn't do interviews. Parrish had no problems, however, praising his starter.
"That's what we needed," Parrish said. "He gave them a hit and then he'd take it away. It seemed everything they got was with two outs. I was getting close to taking him out anyway in the sixth with his pitch count . They had fouled a lot off him and they were getting his count up."
The sixth proved to be as entertaining an inning as any in the postseason so far. Rochester was trailing, 4-0, when Quinton McCracken connected for a one-out single. Garrett Jones followed with a long fly to left that bounced off the heel of Ryan Raburn's glove just as he approached the wall, putting runners on second and third.
Terry Tiffee worked the count full against Boehringer before Fullwood called an inside pitch ball four. Boehringer charged off the mound, voicing his displeasure as his teammates raced to quiet him down. Jeff Jones came out to aid in the cause, but Boehringer kept jawing and was tossed.
That ejection set off Jeff Jones, who launched into a tirade of his own. Fullwood didn't wait long to give him the thumb, which touched off a lengthy shoutfest by Jones, who kicked dirt on the plate as he exited the field.
When order was restored, Preston Larrison was on the mound. He induced a weak pop-up to short by Kevin West then got Glenn Williams to ground out to second to end the inning.
"We sort of predicted before the series that Larrison would turn out to be a sleeper in the 'pen," Parrish said. "Obviously tonight he came through."
David Espinosa put Toledo on the board with a solo homer in the third, sending Munro's 2-1 offering ricocheting off the warehouse beyond the right-field fence. Jack Hannahan led off the fourth by depositing a 2-2 pitch onto the promenade above the same fence.
The big blow, however, came in the fifth after Brent Dlugach led off with a single and stole second. Dustan Mohr connected for his third playoff homer, a two-run shot to left-center. Mike Hessman closed out the scoring with a towering two-run shot in the eighth, Toledo's 18th homer in nine playoff games.
"Today, we feasted," Parrish said. "I hope we can feast one more time. Tonight, all of the home runs were big. When we hit, we struck them pretty well. That last one Hessman hit was like a 2-iron."
While Boehringer was exceptional prior to the sixth, Rochester was not without its opportunities. Jones and Tiffee led off with back-to-back singles in the second inning, but West grounded into a double play and Williams popped out to end the threat. Tiffee hit a two-out double to deep center in the fourth, but once again West couldn't bring him in, grounding out to shortstop on the first pitch.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.