Toledo Mud Hens 4, Indianapolis Indians 2
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Two runs in the bottom of the 7th by the Mud Hens broke a 2-2 tie, and the Hens hung on for the win at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, OH. The Indians out-hit the Mud Hens 8-7, but they couldn’t come up with any runs after the 1st inning. Tribe starter Ross Ohlendorf made his third rehab start and took the loss, though he bested his previous outing by going into the 7th inning and by throwing 102 pitches (60 strikes).
The game began with a Tribe rally. Jose Tabata, in right field tonight, led off with a double to the right field wall. 2B Jordy Mercer followed with a double down the right field line, driving Tabata in from second base. LF John Bowker’s ground out let Mercer advance to third base, then Mercer scored when 3B Josh Harrison also doubled into right field. DH Jeff Clement walked, putting two runners on first, but a ground out ended the inning.
Ross Ohlendorf took the mound in the bottom of the 1st with a 2-run lead in his pocket. He zipped through that inning, but got into trouble right away in the bottom of the 2nd. DH Ryan Strieby led off with a double into right field, and 3B Brandon Inge followed with a long high line drive over the left field wall to tie the game at 2-2. Ohlendorf went on to give up a single to RF Clete Thomas, then after two outs, he walked C Max St. Pierre. A ground out back to the mound ended the threat, leaving two Toledo runners on base.
The Hens managed only one hit over the next three innings off Ohlendorf, when Inge singled to lead off the 4th. He was erased in a double play to end the inning. Ohlendorf also worked around SS Danny Worth, who reached base on a throwing error by SS Pedro Ciriaco in the 5th.
CF Gorkys Hernandez singled into left field in the top of the 2nd and stole second base, but was left on base. The next 8 Tribe batters went down in order, until Hernandez doubled into left field to lead off the 5th. Hernandez moved to third on a grounder by Mercer. He tried for the surprise steal of home, but C St. Pierre was not surprised enough, and he easily tagged out Hernandez by several feet. The Indians were retired in order again in the 6th, then Clement singled to begin the 7th. He was forced out at second on a grounder to end the inning.
The bottom of the 7th began with the game still tied. Toledo starter Fu-Te Ni had been relieved by Brendan Wise in the top of the 7th, so Ni was not going to be involved in the decision. Ohlendorf was still on the mound, starting the 7th with two singles. Clete Thomas lined a single into left field to begin the rally. 1B Scott Thorman dropped down what was intended to be a sacrifice bunt, rolling along the third base line. Tribe 3B Harrison charged in, but when he got to the ball, he could not make the scoop on the ball, and the Hens had runners on first and second. Worth also bunted, and this one had the expected outcome, moving both runners into scoring position. St. Pierre followed with a grounder that slipped past SS Pedro Ciriaco, who had misjudged the ball and missed the back-handed stab. That brought in Clete Thomas and put runners on the corners. It also chased Ohlendorf from the game. He finished with 7 hits and a walk, and was responsible for all 4 Toledo runs, in 6.1 innings.
Danny Moskos came on in relief of Ohlendorf. He first faced 2B Will Rhymes, who dropped down the third bunt of the inning. This squeeze bunt landed between the plate and the mound, as Thorman raced for home. Moskos pounced on the ball and made an underhand flip to C Jason Jaramillo. It was a bang-bang play, but Thorman slid across the plate just barely before Jaramillo caught the flip from Moskos. Moskos got two ground outs to end the inning, but the Mud Hens had taken a 4-2 lead.
Justin Thomas replaced Moskos on the mound for the 8th inning. He walked Strieby, but retired the next three batters in order for a scoreless inning.
The Tribe had two more chances to catch Toledo. With two outs in the 8th, Bowker and 1B Matt Hague lined back-to-back singles into right and center fields. The rally was cut short by a grounder force out. Three Tribe batters went down with three quick outs in the top of the 9th, and the Mud Hens had the win.
The Indians and Mud Hens finished this 6-game series with a 3-3 split. They split the 4 games in Indianapolis and also split the 2 games in Toledo. The Tribe now moves along to Columbus for a pair of games against the first-place Clippers.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Three doubles in the top of the 1st, to give the Indians their 2 runs. Jose Tabata hit his second double with the Tribe to begin the inning, then RBI doubles by Jordy Mercer (his 9th with the Tribe) and Josh Harrison (his 14th with the Tribe) brought in the runs.
Indians Defensive Gem of the Game: In the bottom of the 4th, with Brandon Inge on first and one out, Scott Thorman grounded to the right side of the infield. 2B Jordy Mercer made a diving stop then got to his knees to make the throw to SS Pedro Ciriaco covering second. Ciriaco took the throw for the force out on Inge, then had to make a leap, with his legs out in a split, to avoid Inge and get off the relay to first base — in time for the out on Thorman.
Jose Tabata played right field tonight for the first time this season. He’s usually in left field for the Pirates, but the Pirates are thinking of trying him in right field when he returns from the DL. That would allow Alex Presley (who is also on the DL) to play left field.
Ross Ohlendorf is nearly ready to come off the DL. This was scheduled to be his last rehab start.
(photos by Nancy)