Toledo Mud Hens 8, Indianapolis Indians 4
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The Mud Hens ganged up on Tribe starter Rudy Owens in the third inning tonight at Victory Field, and the Indians were not able to catch up after that. Owens pitched only 2.2 innings and surrendered 5 runs on 8 hits, suffering his 7th loss of the season.
The Indians started off well, putting the first run of the game onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the 1st. 2B Jordy Mercer lined a double into left field, which rolled all the way to the scoreboard as LF Timo Perez chased it down. 1B Matt Hague also lined into left field, though not as deep, and that RBI single brought Mercer around to score. 3B Josh Harrison was hit on the foot by a pitch, giving the Tribe two runners on with two out. The inning ended with both still on base, when DH Jason Jaramillo struck out, with the Indians ahead 1-0.
Owens also started off on the right foot. He retired the side in order in the top of the 1st, then gave up a double into left-center to begin the top of the 2nd. Owens left Strieby right there, though, with a fly out and two strikeouts to end the inning.
Then the Mud Hens exploded. They batted around in the top of the 3rd, posting 7 hits and 5 runs. 2B Danny Worth opened the inning with a rising line drive that sailed over the left field wall for a solo home run. C Max St. Pierre and DH Will Rhymes followed the homer with back-to-back singles into right field. Former Indy Indian SS Argenis Diaz dropped down a sacrifice bunt, which Owens bobbled for just a second, but was still able to get to first in time for the out on Diaz. Next, Perez and Strieby hit back-to-back doubles. Perez’s went toward Tribe CF Gorkys Hernandez, who tried to make the play on the short hop. Instead, the ball hit his glove and caromed off to his right, and by the time Hernandez chased it down, Perez was on second base, and both St. Pierre and Rhymes had scored. Strieby’s second double in two innings sailed into the left-center field gap, driving in Perez. Strieby scored on 3B Brandon Inge’s single down the left field line. RF Ben Guez also singled, the fourth hit in a row, and the seventh in 8 batters. A pop out by CF Clete Thomas gave Owens the second out of the inning. That was all for Owens, though. He had thrown 60 pitches (40 strikes), but manager Dean Treanor had seen enough. Owens was relieved by Sean Gallagher. Gallagher made two pitches to Danny Worth, who had started the inning for the Hens. At that point, a surprise throw to first by C Eric Fryer (in his first game since returning from the Pirates), picked Guez off first base to end the frame. Toledo had taken a 5-1 lead, and Owens was going to be on the hook for the loss.
Gallagher pitched the next two innings for the Indians. He kept the Mud Hens scoreless, allowing just a walk and a single. He retired the Hens in order in the 4th. Diaz walked to begin the 5th, but was erased in a 3-6-3 double play. Hague made the play two steps from the first base bag, but he elected to throw to second base first, then took those two steps to first to take the relay throw back from SS Pedro Ciriaco for the twin killing. Guez grounded up the middle for a single in the 6th, and was left stranded.
Jose Ascanio took the mound for the 7th inning. He also gave up a lone single — a two-out single into right field to Diaz. The inning ended when Perez sent both the ball and the splintered-off barrel of his bat toward first base. Hague scooped up the ball, avoided the broken bat, and stepped on the first base bag to end the inning.
Hague led off the Tribe’s half of the 4th inning with a double off the “42″ (honoring Jackie Robinson) on the wall in the left-center field alley, after the Indians had gone down in order in the 2nd and 3rd innings. Harrison added a single, when he beat out the throw on a grounder to 2B Worth. Both were left stranded, as was Ciriaco, who singled with one out in the 5th. Fryer worked a walk to lead off the 7th inning, but could not advance past second base.
Both teams scored in the final two innings of the game. Justin Thomas came in from the bullpen for the top of the 8th. He walked Strieby to begin the inning, then gave up an infield single to Inge, who beat out SS Ciriaco’s throw on a grounder to deep short. Justin Thomas struck out Guez, then loaded the bases when Clete Thomas rifled a liner right back at the mound (Justin Thomas ducked out of the way) and through into center field. After Justin Thomas struck out Worth looking, St. Pierre singled on a grounder through the hole and into left field. That brought Strieby and Inge around to score, giving the Hens a 7-1 lead.
The Tribe came right back to get those two runs back in the bottom of the inning. Mercer led off with his second hit of the game, a hard hit into left field. John Bowker brought in Mercer with a huge bomb — a long booming 2-run homer just inside the right field foul pole. Hague and Harrison followed the homer with back-to-back singles. But Hague tried tagging up to go from second to third on a fly out to center by Jaramillo. The fly out was to middle-deep center, and Hague was thrown out at third by CF Clete Thomas for a double play, and a strikeout ended the inning. The Indians had gained a little ground, 7-3.
With Danny Moskos on the mound for the 9th, Strieby gave the Mud Hens another insurance run with a solo homer over the left field wall and past the sidewalk behind the grass berm. The Tribe responded with a run in the bottom of the 9th. RF Miles Durham slapped a 3-2 pitch into the left-center field alley, and he never slowed down as he approached first base, sliding into second easily as the throw in from LF Perez was wide of the bag. A ground out by Hernandez moved Durham to third, and he scored when Ciriaco grounded to short and flat out beat the throw to first base. Mercer also singled, for his third hit of the game. Mercer and Ciriaco were both left on base when a strikeout and a ground out ended the rally.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: Both Jordy Mercer and Matt Hague went 3-for-5 tonight. Mercer had two singles and a double, after hitting two doubles and a single last night. Hague also had two singles and a double tonight; he hit a pair of singles in last night’s game.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: The double play in the 5th inning, off the bat of Timo Perez — it was a 3-6-3 double play, involving Matt Hague and Pedro Ciriaco.
Jose Tabata is expected to join the Indians this weekend, to begin his rehab assignment.
(photos by Nancy)