Indianapolis Indians 8, Toledo Mud Hens 3[ box ]
A 5-run explosion by the Indians in the top of the 10th gave the Tribe a big win over the Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio tonight.
The game was sent into extra innings after the Mud Hens tied the score at 3-3 in the bottom of the 7th. The top of the 10th began with the first five Tribe batters reaching base. 2B Jordy Mercer began by working a walk. LF John Bowker singled into right field, moving Mercer to second base. Both Mercer and Bowker scored when 1B Matt Hague sliced a double into left field, giving the Indians the lead plus an insurance run. 3B Pedro Alvarez followed with a huge blast over the right-center field wall for a 2-run homer. DH Andy Marte also got in on the fun, with a double into center field after the homer. Moments later, RF Miles Durham singled into left field, advancing Marte to third. A grounder to third by CF Gorkys Hernandez forced out Durham at second, but let Marte score the fifth run of the inning, giving the Tribe an 8-3 lead.
Reliever Jared Hughes pitched the bottom of the frame for the Indians. He got three quick ground outs, taking the final one himself, to end the game. With the 5-run lead, it was not a save situation for Hughes. The win went to Justin Thomas, who was the pitcher of record in the top of the 10th.
The Indians went down in order for the first three innings of this game. Their first hit of the game came when SS Pedro Ciriaco led off the top of the 4th with a single. Ciriaco stole second base, and advanced to third when Mercer flied out. Bowker’s looper single into right plated Ciriaco, giving the Indians a 1-0 lead.
Sean Gallagher had made the start for the Indians. He began his evening with three scoreless innings, working around a walk in the 1st, and singles by former Indy Indian CF Jeff Salazar in the 2nd and 2B Will Rhymes in the 3rd. Gallagher got into trouble in the bottom of the 4th, when the first three batters reached base. LF Timo Perez led off with a line drive into right field for a double. 1B Ryan Strieby and DH Scott Thorman both doubled, scoring Perez (RBI to Thorman) to tie the game at 1-1. Two ground outs moved Strieby to third, and then brought him in to score, and the Mud Hens had a 2-1 lead.
Another rally gave the Indians the lead again in the 6th. Hernandez led off with a walk, then scored on Ciriaco’s double, tying the game again. Ciriaco scored on a single by Mercer, taking the lead back for the Tribe, 3-2. Bowker also singled, but was erased when Hague bounced into a double play. An intentional walk to Alvarez gave the Tribe runners on the corners, but a pop out ended the inning.
Gallagher held the lead through the 5th and 6th innings, retiring the Hens in order. He got in trouble in the 7th inning, though. With one out, Gallagher walked Salazar, then gave up singles to Pedro Ciriaco’s brother, Hens’ SS Audy Ciriaco, and C Omir Santos. Santos picked up the RBI as Salazar scored the run that again tied the game. That was all for Gallagher, who was responsible for 3 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts over 6.1 innings. He had thrown 92 pitches with 54 of them strikes.
Justin Thomas came on in relief of Gallagher, with one out and Mud Hens’ runners on first and second. Thomas shut down the Toledo rally with a fly out, a walk to load the bases, and a strikeout of Perez. He went on to strike out the side in the 8th inning. Thomas gave up a lead-off single to Salazar in the 9th. Audy Ciriaco bunted into a force out of Salazar at second, and after a strikeout, C Eric Fryer ended the inning when he threw out Audy Ciriaco trying to steal second (it was his brother who tagged him out).
The Indians put runners on base in both the 8th and the 9th innings, but could not get any of them around to score. Bowker and Alvarez both singled in the 8th. Durham bunted for a single in the 9th, and advanced to second base when Hens’ C Santos made a wide throw to first base. Hernandez walked, but Pedro Ciriaco bounced into a double play, turned at second by his brother Audy.
That set the Indians up for their big inning in the top of the 10th. The Tribe has scored more than 5 runs in an entire game only once in the past two weeks (they lost to Lehigh Valley 7-6 on the 23rd).
The Indians are in second place in the International League West Division, one game ahead of the third place Louisville Bats. They have also passed Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the Wild Card standings — the Indians are in third place in that race, but are 5 games behind second place Gwinnett and 8 games behind first place Lehigh Valley.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Pedro Alvarez’s 2-run homer in the top of the 10th. It gave the Indians two more insurance runs, and sealed the deal for the Tribe. It was Alvarez’s 4th homer with the Indians, and his first since being optioned to the Indians this month.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Ben Guez led off the bottom of the 7th with a grounder deep in the hole at short. Indians’ SS Pedro Ciriaco went well to his right into the hole, to make the scoop, then made a leaping throw across to Matt Hague at first base for the out.
The two Ciriaco brothers — Pedro at shorstop for the Indians and Audy at shortstop for the Mud Hens — faced each other across the diamond for the first time…. in years? Audy, about two years younger than Pedro, signed with the Detroit Tigers in 2005, and has been in their organization ever since. He was promoted from AA a little more than a week ago. Pedro was originally signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2003, and was traded to the Pirates last season. Except for one game last season (when Audy and the Mud Hens played against Pawtucket), this is the first time the brothers have played in the same league.
(Photos by Nancy)