Toledo Mud Hens 4, Indianapolis Indians 3
The Indianapolis Indians’ 9-inning rally was cut short, as the Toledo Mud Hens slipped past the Tribe by just one run at Victory Field tonight. Rudy Owens made a solid start for the Indians, but it was not enough to hold off the Mud Hens. Owens was charged with his third loss of the season, giving him a 6-3 record and a 2.51 ERA.
The Indians were first onto the scoreboard after putting one runner on base in each of the first two innings — a single by 3B Chase d’Arnaud in the 1st, and 1B Jeff Larish reached on a throwing error in the 2nd. With two outs in the 3rd, d’Arnaud ran the count full and took a walk. CF Starling Marte followed with a huge blast over the left field wall for a 2-run homer.
Rudy Owens kept a lid on the Mud Hens for the first 5 innings of the game. He allowed only a walk in the 1st inning and another walk in the 5th, leaving both runners stranded. The only hit allowed by Owens in those innings was a one-out single by LF Jerad Head in the 2nd. Owens promptly erased Head when C Rob Brantly grounded to first. 1B Jeff Larish made the scoop and threw to second base, forcing out Head. SS Jordy Mercer fired back to first base, as Larish scrambled back to the bag in time to make the out on Brantly.
Toledo got to Owens in the 6th inning, which began with 3 consecutive singles. Former Indy Indian SS Argenis Diaz led off with a grounder that bounced off the back of the mound and into center field. CF Justin Henry blooped a single into short center field with a lunging swing. RF Matt Young drove in Diaz with a bouncer that got past 2B Yamaico Navarro’s backhanded reach. Marte’s throw back to the infield was long enough but came to the plate higher than C Tony Sanchez could jump, as Diaz easily slid in to score. DH John Lindsey, who just joined the Mud Hens today, tapped back to the mound, where Owens glared Henry back to third before throwing to Larish for the first out of the inning. 1B Ryan Strieby lined into right field, bringing in Henry with the tying run, 2-2. Young advanced to third base, and he scored the go-ahead run on 3B Jeff Baisley’s sacrifice fly.
Owens left the game after that 6th inning. He had thrown 95 pitches (57 strikes) and allowed the 3 run on 5 hits and 2 walks. He did strike out 6 Mud Hens’ batters. Bryan Morris pitched the 7th inning in relief of Owens. Morris gave up a single to Argenis Diaz, but left Diaz stranded for a scoreless inning.
Chris Leroux, still on his rehab assignment, pitched the 8th. He gave up the final Mud Hens’ run. Young led off with a double off the left field scoreboard. A ground out to first allowed Young to move to third base, and he scored on Strieby’s sacrifice fly. Duke Welker pitched a perfect top of the 9th for the Indians, with a ground out and two strikeouts. Mud Hens leading, 4-2.
After their 3rd inning rally, the Indians put at least one runner on base in each of the remaining innings. Unfortunately, most of them were left on base. Jordy Mercer doubled off the right field wall in the gap in the 4th. He moved to third base, tagging up on a fly out, but was left there when Larish walked and then RF Brandon Boggs bounced into a double play. LF Gorkys Hernandez bunted for a single in the 5th, and was left there. DH Jeff Clement led off the 6th with a double, when Toledo’s LF Head made a leap at the wall, but could not hold onto the ball. 2B Yamaico Navarro singled, pushing Clement to third. Navarro stole second base, giving the Mud Hens room to walk Boggs to load the bases. Sanchez grounded to third, where Baisley needed only a few steps to force out Navarro at the bag.
The bottom of the 7th began with an exciting, then controversial play. Gorkys Hernandez drilled a liner into the left-center gap. LF Head and CF Henry both chased after it, but Head was closer. Head made a dive, just as the ball bounced in front of him, and the ball scooted past him and all the way to the wall in the deepest part of the park. Henry had just reached the ball on the warning track as Hernandez was coming to third base. Manager Dean Treanor waved Hernandez along, and as the throw was coming in to the relay man (Diaz), Hernandez neared the plate. Hernandez reached the plate just ahead of the ball relayed from Diaz. Hernandez slid to the outside of the dish, reaching for the plate with his left hand, as the ball popped out of C Brantly’s glove. Hernandez looked up at umpire AJ Johnson, who signaled — nothing. Brantly realized a second before Hernandez that Johnson’s silence meant that Hernandez had not yet touched the plate, nor had Brantly yet tagged Hernandez. Brantly had picked up the ball, and he tagged Hernandez just as we could all but see the light bulb going on over Hernandez’s head. Only then did Johnson make his call — out. The ruling was that Hernandez had reached for the plate, but had not actually touched it. According to the radio broadcasters, a look at the in-house replay showed that Johnson was correct, and Hernandez did not appear to touch the plate. Hernandez argued the call, and got into Johnson’s face, which did not change the call, but did get him ejected.
The Indians still trailed by 2 runs. Marte singled in the 7th after the almost-an-inside-the-park-homer, but he was caught trying to steal second base. Jeff Clement slipped a grounder through the right side of the infield to lead off the 8th. Brian Friday came on to pinch-run for Clement, but he was left stranded as the Mud Hens set down the next three batters in order.
Brandon Boggs began the Indians’ rally in the bottom of the 9th. With former Indy Indian Chris Bootcheck on the mound for Toledo, Boggs led off with a long liner to the wall in the deep left-center field gap, racing around for a triple. Moments later, Anderson Hernandez, who had entered the game when Gorkys Hernandez was ejected, grounded to short, bringing Boggs across the plate. Chase d’Arnaud reached base on an error, but that just prolonged the game by one batter, as Marte tapped back to the mound to end the game.
The Indians out-hit the Mud Hens, 10-7. Gorkys Hernandez, Starling Marte, and Jeff Clement each had 2 hits, and Marte also had 2 RBI with his home run.
The Indians and Mud Hens have 3 more games in this series. Wednesday’s game will be an afternoon game.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Starling Marte’s 2-run home run in the 3rd inning, which gave the Indians the lead for a few innings. It was Marte’s 7th homer of the season, and his 40th and 41st home runs.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: The 3-6-3 double play in the top of the 2nd. Jeff Larish had the tough part, as he had to made the pick-up and turn to throw, then speed to the first base bag to catch the return throw.
Several roster moves today:
With Pirates’ C Rod Barajas having trouble with his knee, the Pirates needed another catcher to be their back-up. Eric Fryer was promoted to the Pirates, where he will likely only remain for a few days. Fryer also played in 10 games for the Pirates in 2011.
Reliever Doug Slaten and 1B Matt Hague were optioned back to the Indians, and in order to make room on the rosters, Daniel Moskos was designated for assignment. If he is not claimed off waivers or traded, the Pirates can assign him to Indianapolis.