Toledo Mud Hens 5, Indianapolis Indians 4
Audy Ciriaco’s walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th broke a 4-4 tie and gave the game to the Mud Hens tonight at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio. The Indianapolis Indians have a 2 games to one lead in this 5-game home-and-home series, which will resume at Victory Field tomorrow.
Once again, Tribe SS Brock Holt had a 3-hit game — his fourth 3-hit game in a row. Brock accounted for half of the Indians’ 6 hits, and 1B Matt Hague had 2 hits, with RF Christian Marrero, just back up from Altoona, hit the Indians’ 6th hit.
The combination of Brock and Hague got the Indians’ scoring started in the top of the 1st. Holt led off with a double lined into center field. 2B Anderson Hernandez dropped down a sacrifice bunt to push Holt to third base. Hague blooped a single into right field, driving in Holt from third, and the Indians had a 1-0 lead. Holt and Hague collaborated again in the 3rd inning with a pair of singles. Holt lined into center field, and when Hernandez hit a slow-rolling grounder to short, Holt reached second base. Hague also singled, and Holt raced around to score from second base. The Indians were ahead, 2-0.
Jo-Jo Reyes made the start for the Indians, pitching 3 innings. He got out of a bit of a jam in the 1st inning. Reyes walked former Indy Indian CF Don Kelly to open the inning, then gave up a single to LF Jared Head. A grounder by RF Ben Guez to Holt at short resulted in a force out of Head at second, but the Indians did not get the double play. With runners on the corners, Reyes got a line out and a fly out to end the inning without the Mud Hens scoring. The Mud Hens went down in order in the 2nd inning, but then tied the score in the 3rd. Reyes walked former Indy Indian SS Argenis Diaz, then gave up a 2-run homer to Head, tying the score at 2-2.
Reyes allowed those 2 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks, with 2 strikeouts. He had thrown 48 pitches (30 strikes). Duke Welker took over for Reyes to begin the 4th inning. Welker gave up a 2-out single to Ciriaco, who also stole second, but left him stranded. Welker also gave up a 2-out single to Head in the 5th. Head also stole second base, and he also was left on base.
Bryan Morris came out of the bullpen to pitch the 6th inning for the Indians. He got three quick outs (ground out, strike out, strike out), but was the victim of an error. C Tony Sanchez dropped strike three of the second strike out, and his throw down to first base went wide, allowing 2B Danny Worth to reach first base safely. Ciriaco followed with a single into center field, moving Worth to third base, then Ciriaco stole second to put both runners into scoring position. C Bryan Holaday’s line drive single into center field drove in both runners, giving Toledo a 4-2 lead.
The Indians got one run back in the top of the 7th. Brandon Boggs, getting the rare chance to play center field tonight, began the inning with the walk, and moments later Sanchez also walked. A wild pitch moved both into scoring position, then LF Jeff Larish walked to load the bases. With two outs, Holt came through again. He ripped a line drive single into right field, and Boggs scored easily from third. Sanchez also tried to score from second base, but Toledo RF Guez’s throw to C Holaday at the plate was in time and on target, and Sanchez was out at the plate. The Indians were closer, 4-3.
Justin Wilson came on to pitch the bottom of the 7th, and he was the most effective of the Indians’ pitchers: he struck out the side on 11 pitches, and only one was a ball. Doug Slaten took over for the 8th, and he also put down the Mud Hens in order, though did not strike out anyone.
The Tribe also went down on three strikeouts in the top of the 8th, but they scored an unearned run in the top of the 9th. Boggs began with a walk, and 3B Yamaico Navarro grounded to third, for what looked like it could be a double play. But Toledo 2B Cale Iorg missed the catch, and both Boggs and Navarro were safe. Two outs later, Marrero looped a single into left field, and Boggs came around to score from second base. Head’s throw in from left field was wild, and it allowed Navarro to reach third base and Marrero to reach second. The Mud Hens intentionally walked Holt to load the bases, which worked out for them — Hernandez bounced to short, and Holt was forced out at second base to end the threat. The Indians had tied the score at 4-4.
That tie did not last long. With Slaten on the mound again, Ciriaco deposited an 0-2 pitch over the left field wall, and Toledo had the walk-off win. Slaten was charged with his 3rd loss of the season.
The Indians have two more home games in the regular season, against the Mud Hens on Friday and Saturday. Then they wrap up the regular season with two games in Louisville.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Brock Holt, and his three hits for the 4th consecutive day. Holt is 12-for-18 (.667) over those four games, and has a .425 overall average since joining the Indians. His double in the top of the 1st, was the Indians’ only extra-base hit of the game. All three of his hits factored into Indians’ runs, and he also was walked in another Indians’ rally.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: The Indians’ pitchers combined to strike out 9 Mud Hens. Jo-Jo Reyes, Duke Welker, and Brian Morris struck out two batters each, and Justin Wilson struck out all three batters he faced.
Roster shuffling has begun, and there will be more after Saturday. OF Alex Presley and P Kyle McPherson were called up to the Pirates. P Gerrit Cole was promoted from Altoona yesterday, and 1B Matt Curry was promoted today.
The end-of-the-season IL All Star team includes OF Starling Marte and reliever Tim Wood.
Indians’ Brock Holt was named the Altoona Curve’s Most Valuable Player for 2012, and Phil Irwin was named the Curve’s Pitcher of the Year.