Indianapolis Indians 6, Toledo Mud Hens 1
Starter Rick VandenHurk threw 6 shutout innings to begin the evening, then was awarded the Indians’ Most Valuable Player honors to end the evening. The Indians defeated the Toledo Mud Hens at Victory Field, giving the Indians a 3 games to 1 lead in this 5-game home-and-home series. The Indians’ offense backed up VandenHurk with 10 hits, including two each by C Tony Sanchez, DH Eric Fryer, and the newest Indian, 3B Hector Luna.
VandenHurk had to work around base runners in 5 of his 6 innings. Some of them were of his own making — VandenHurk hit LF Jared Head by a pitch in the 1st inning and hit 2B Danny Worth in the 2nd inning. A throwing error by 3B Luna put a runner on base in the 3rd inning. Luna made a back-tracking back-handed play at third, but his throw to first base went wide, for a 2-base error. DH John Lindsey singled with one out in the 4th, and was stranded there when VandenHurk struck out the next two batters.
The biggest trouble VandenHurk came in the 5th inning. With two outs, he gave up a single up the middle to former Indy Indian SS Argenis Diaz, and a single through the right side of the infield to CF Justin Henry. Another strike out ended the inning. VandenHurk allowed only those 3 hits, and no walks, in his 6 innings. He struck out 6 batters. It took him 87 pitches (59 strikes) to earn his 13th win of the season.
The Tribe did all of their scoring in two innings. After going down in order in the first two innings, Tony Sanchez led off the 3rd by ripping a double off the wall in the right-center gap for a double. A ground out moved Sanchez to third. Eric Fryer dribbled a grounder past the Mud Hens’ starter Luke Putkonen and past 3B Audy Ciriaco — both grabbed for it as it rolled on the grass, and both missed. Fryer was safe on first with an RBI single, as Sanchez scored from third while the infielders were fumbling. The Indians scored another run in the inning, thanks to Brock Holt’s speed. Holt grounded to second base, for what should have been an inning-ending double play. 2B Danny Worth made the throw to SS Diaz for the force out of Fryer at second, but Holt beat the relay throw from Diaz to 1B Danny Dorn. Holt stole second base, beating the throw from C Brad Davis. Then Holt raced around to score from second base when 2B Anderson Hernandez lined a single into left-center field. The throw came in from the outfield to the plate, but Holt again was too fast, and he crossed the plate well before the ball got there. Indians ahead, 2-0.
RF Dallas McPherson started another Tribe rally in the 4th. He tapped a grounder back to the mound, but was safe at first when Putkonen’s throw to first base was way wide. The next four Indians’ batters also reached base safely. Luna got his first hit with the Indians on a low liner into center field. CF Brandon Boggs walked to load the bases with no outs. That brought up Tony Sanchez again — and again Sanchez rocketed a double into center field, driving in both McPherson and Luna. LF Christian Marrero lined a single into center, and that drove in both Boggs and Sanchez, to give the Indians a 6-0 lead.
Luna singled again in the 5th inning, with a bloopy hit that fell in to short right field. McPherson doubled into deep left-center field, under Jackie Robinson’s “42″ sign, in the 7th. Both of them were left on base. The Indians threatened in the 6th, when they loaded the bases again. Sanchez began the inning with a walk, though he was forced out at second base on Marrero’s grounder to first. Fryer and Holt both singled, loading the bases with one out. But a strikeout and a ground out ended the inning, leaving all three runners on base. Matt Curry, who was just promoted from AA Altoona, made his AAA debut tonight, when he came on to pinch hit in the 9th. Unfortunately, his first at-bat was a strike out.
Daniel McCutchen took the mound in relief of VandenHurk to begin the 7th inning. He retired the Mud Hens in order in that inning, but got into some trouble in the 8th. Diaz began with a single through the hole and into left field. McCutchen balked, moving Diaz to second. A single by Henry drove in Diaz with Toledo’s only run. A fly out and a double play ended that inning without any further scoring.
Evan Meek pitched the 9th inning for the Indians. He retired the side in order to end the game.
The Indians are scheduled to play one more home game, to finish this series with the Mud Hens. However, weather forecasts have the remnants of Hurricane Isaac coming through central Indiana tomorrow, along with 2-4 inches of rain. The Indians will then travel to Louisville (which may also be in the middle of all the rain) for games on Sunday and Monday.
Indians Hitting Gem of the Game: Tony Sanchez, who hit the roof of the Toyota truck in center field earlier this week, was blasting away tonight. He doubled twice in the game. The first double started the Indians’ first rally in the 3rd, and he came around to score. The second double drove in 2 runs in the 4th inning, and Sanchez came around to score moments later.
Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game: #1 — In the top of the 8th, after the Mud Hens had just scored their run, Jared Head lifted a long fly ball into center field. Brandon Boggs, who has not played center field very much this season, raced back and to his left, running into the gap. Still running, he stretched out his arm to make the catch, and likely save a run from scoring. #2 — In the 2nd inning, Danny Dorn zipped a line drive toward right field. But he was not counting on Anderson Hernandez. Second baseman Hernandez was playing deep into the hole between first and second bases, standing well back on the grass, actually in short right field. That line drive was aimed directly at Hernandez. He did not have to take a step — all he did was stick his glove up, about shoulder high, and the ball went right into it.