Indianapolis Indians 5, Toledo Mud Hens 4[ box ]
Indians’ SS Pedro Ciriaco had not played on the same field as his brother Audy since they became professionals, until this series against the Mud Hens. He’s been having a lot of fun being around his brother, even if they are on opposite sides of the field — and especially when he can get the game-winning hit and RBI to beat his brother’s team. At Victory Field tonight, Pedro ended the game in the bottom of the 12th with a single slipped through the left side of the infield, scoring RF Miles Durham from second base to give the Indians the walk-off win. “It was exciting to play against my brother, ” said Pedro after the game. “It was the first time that’s happened, playing against him.”
Pedro Ciriaco led the Indians’ offense with 3 hits and 2 RBI. CF Gorkys Hernandez also contributed 2 RBI with 2 singles, and 2B Jordy Mercer hit his 5th home run of the season. The Tribe used 8 pitchers, beginning with Aaron Thompson, who lasted only into the 4th inning and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits and 4 walks, and ending with Justin Thomas, who pitched a scoreless top of the 12th and was the pitcher of record, picking up the win, when Pedro Ciriaco worked his magic in the bottom of the inning.
Aaron Thompson buzzed through the top of the 1st inning, but struggled in each of the next three. The 2nd inning began with a single through the right side of the infield by DH Carlos Guillen, a walk to 1B Ryan Strieby, and a grounder up the middle by RF Ben Guez to load the bases with no outs. Pitching coach Tom Filer visited Thompson on the mound for a few words, but Thompson proceeded to force in a run by walking 3B Danny Worth. Then Thompson settled down and got two line outs and a fly out to end the inning without any more runs scoring.
The Mud Hens did not load the bases in the 3rd inning, but they scored two more runs. 2B Will Rhymes led off with a single off the back of the mound and into center field. He stole second base, then scored on Guillen’s second hit of the game, a double down the right field line and into the corner. Strieby smacked a grounder right to 3B Pedro Alvarez, but at the last minute, the ball took a crazy hop, almost hitting Alvarez in the face. Instead, it skipped over his shoulder and into left field, moving Guillen to third. Another single by Worth plated Guillen, giving the Mud Hens a 3-0 lead.
Thompson began the 4th inning with a line out, but then loaded the bases on a walk to CF Andy Dirks, a single by Rhymes, and a walk to Guillen, plus a fly out. By then he had thrown 83 pitches (45 strikes) and manager Dean Treanor had seen enough. Steven Jackson came on in relief, and got the Tribe out of the jam by striking out Strieby to end the inning without a run scoring.
The Indians had also been retired in order in the 1st inning, but loaded the bases in the 2nd. 1B Matt Hague singled into right field, as the ball fell into and out of the glove of the diving RF Guez. Two outs later, C Jason Jaramillo grounded a single into left field, and Durham reached base on an error, when SS Audy Ciriaco started making a play on Durham’s grounder before the ball actually got into his glove. But with the bases loaded and two outs, CF Gorkys Hernandez was only able to ground to short, for the fielder’s choice force out of Durham to end the inning.
The Tribe was successful in tying the score in the bottom of the 4th. Alvarez began the rally with a single up the middle. With two outs, Jaramillo lined a single into right field, and Durham walked, to load the bases again. This time Hernandez came through with a single just out of the reach of the diving 3B Worth, bringing both Alvarez and Jaramillo around to score. Then the Tribe had the most bizarre play of the game. Pedro Ciriaco grounded sharply to second, where 2B Rhymes bobbled the ball. He recovered it quickly enough to make a throw to first for the out, but his throw was wide. That let Durham, who had been off and running from second base (because there were 2 outs), scramble across the plate to score. The Mud Hens had tracked down the ball from the wild throw to first and fired to the plate, but too late to get Durham. C Max St. Pierre alertly fired the ball to second base, where Pedro Ciriaco was trying to advance amid all the confusion. St. Pierre’s throw was in time, and Ciriaco was out easily at second to end the inning — but the Indians had tied the game, 3-3.
2B Jordy Mercer did not leave the game tied for long. He led off the bottom of the 5th with a booming solo home run over the left field wall, to give the Indians a 4-3 lead.
The Mud Hens continued to put runners on base, but the Indians relievers were able to hold them from scoring for a few innings. Jackson gave up a walk in the scoreless 5th inning. Danny Moskos pitched a scoreless 6th. He allowed two hits, but no runs, thanks to two outstanding plays. With out out, Rhymes singled into left field. LF Timo Perez lined a single into center field, but CF Hernandez charged in to make a sliding catch, possibly saving a run if the ball had gotten past him. Then Guillen ripped a line drive double into the right field corner, and Rhymes raced all the way around from first base to the plate. But RF Durham’s throw in to the infield, relayed by Mercer behind second base, reached C Jaramillo just before Rhymes reached the plate, and Jaramillo lunged to his right to tag Rhymes well before he came near the plate.
Aaron Heilman took the 7th inning, and allowed a walk to Guez and a single by Worth, but left both on base, preserving the lead. The Indians batters put two runners on in both the 6th and 7th — three walks and a hit batter (Hague, on the left forearm), but they did not score either.
With rehabbing Evan Meek on the mound in the top of the 8th, the Mud Hens tied the score again. Dirks led off with a double down the left field line, and Rhymes sacrificed him to third base. Perez shot a ball down the right field line, which appeared to bounce just on the foul side of the chalk — but was called fair by 1B umpire Travis Brown. By the time Durham could dig the ball out of the visiting bullpen, Dirks had scored easily. Meek and Hague argued that the ball had bounced foul, and manager Dean Treanor came out to do the arguing for them. Treanor and Brown jawed for several minutes, then Treanor headed back to the dugout. Just before he got to the dugout, though, Treanor yelled back over his shoulder, and Brown immediately ejected him from the game. That just prompted Treanor to go back over to Brown, who was standing near second base, and do more jawing, getting in the last word before departing for the clubhouse. Meek allowed a single to Guillen, his fourth hit of the night, before ending the inning.
The Indians tried to do something about the tie in the bottom of the 8th. A walk to Jaramillo, a single by Hernandez, and a fielding error by 3B Worth to put Mercer on base, loaded the bases for the Tribe. They could not capitalize on the opportunity, though, as an infield pop ended the inning. The Tribe also went down in order in the bottom of the 9th.
Justin Wilson pitched the 9th and 10th innings for the Indians, retiring the Hens in order for the first time since Thompson had done it in the 1st inning. Jared Hughes set the Hens down in order again in the 11th, and Justin Thomas did the same in the top of the 12th.
Miles Durham reached base for the Indians with a one-out walk in the 10th inning. That barely counted as a rally, as Durham was picked off first and caught stealing moments later. With two outs in the 11th, LF John Bowker and Hague hit back-to-back singles, both line drives into right field. Alvarez was intentionally walked to load the bases, but pinch-hitter Jeff Clement struck out, leaving the bases full.
Finally, in the bottom of the 12th, the Tribe found a way to win. Durham lined a one-out single up the middle, and when CF Dirks bobbled the ball, Durham advanced to second on the Hens’ fourth error of the game. Hernandez flied out, which brought up Pedro Ciriaco. With two outs, Durham was off and running with the pitch. Ciriaco singled through to left field, and Durham raced around third and headed home to score the winning run.
Both teams posted 13 hits in the game. The Indians had no errors, and the Mud Hens committed 4 errors. The Mud Hens left 14 runners on base, and were 6-for-19 with runners in scoring position; the Indians left 15 runners on base, and were 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
They’ll all need to sleep fast, because the two teams face off for the final time this season in an afternoon game on Wednesday.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: Clutch hits by Gorkys Hernandez (2-RBI single) and by Pedro Ciriaco (two RBI singles), including the walk-off hit by Ciriaco. Pedro is 8-for-18 (.444) in these three games against Toledo. Maybe we should arrange to have his brother around more often.
Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game: The two plays in the 6th inning — first, a charging in, sliding catch in center field by Gorkys Hernandez, which kept a run from scoring. Then a catch and two perfect throws, by Miles Durham and Jordy Mercer, to nail the speedy Will Rhymes at the plate.
Three Indians’ players (or former players) have been named to the end-of-the-season International League All-Star Team: 1B Matt Hague, who was also on the mid-season All-Star Team as the Indians’ lone representative; OF Alex Presley, who is up with the Pirates again; and reliever Tim Wood, who was leading the league in Saves when he was traded to the Rangers.
Infielder Brian Friday, who has been on the DL for weeks and weeks with an ankle injury, was back in an Indians’ uniform tonight, though he has not yet been officially added to the active roster.
The Arizona Fall League has started announcing their rosters for their upcoming season. So far, Pirates’ minor leaguers INF Brock Holt and OF Robbie Grossman have been tapped to join the Mesa Solar Sox. Expect to see more AFL assignments in the next several days. The Pirates can send another one or two position players and up to four pitchers. The AFL season begins October 4th.
As promised, the first pitch tonight was thrown out by Lefty Circuits, a robot built and operated by the Perry Meridian Robotics team. Lefty wore an Indians’ jersey and cap, and he threw straight and true.
(Photos by Nancy)