Indianapolis Indians 2, Toledo Mud Hens 1[ box ]
Most pitching duels don’t involve a lot of bases on balls. This contest between the Indians and the Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, OH, included 10 walks — all by the Indians’ pitchers. That total is the most number of walks in a game for the Indians this season.
Toledo’s Thad Weber pitched a complete game, which began with 5 scoreless innings. He allowed just 2 runs on 8 hits and did not walk anyone. Tribe starter Sean Gallagher gave up only one unearned run and allowed just 2 hits, but he walked 6 batters. Three Tribe relievers, Jared Hughes, Justin Wilson, and Tim Wood, added a combined 4 more walks, for a total of 10 walks.
The first hit Gallagher allowed came in the bottom of the 2nd, after he’d retired the Hens in order in the 1st. DH Ryan Strieby led off the inning with a single lined into center field. Gallagher struck out 3B Brandon Inge, then erased Strieby by getting RF Ben Guez to bounce into a double play, 6-4-3 (SS Jordy Mercer to 2B Josh Harrison to 1B Jeff Clement).
Gallagher walked 1B Scott Thorman to begin the bottom of the 3rd, but Thorman was thrown out trying to steal second base. Gallagher walked three batters in the 4th. Former Indy Indian CF Jeff Salazar walked with one out, but he was also thrown out stealing second. LF Timo Perez and Strieby both walked, but a pop out ended the inning with both on base.
The Tribe put runners on base in the first two innings, on singles by LF John Bowker and 2B Josh Harrison. Neither could come around to score. The next 10 Indians’ batters were retired in order.
The Mud Hens finally cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the 5th. With two outs, Gallagher walked SS Danny Worth. C Max St. Pierre lifted a fly ball into right field. Tribe RF Miles Durham raced in, but couldn’t get to it in time. He played the bounce, and as he came up with the ball, Worth ran through his manager’s stop sign at third base. With Worth heading for home, Durham fired the ball back to the plate. Worth got more than half way to home, then decided maybe he’d made a mistake — and stopped, then turned to go back to third. If C Jason Jaramillo had been able to make the catch of Durham’s throw, Worth would have had no chance. But Durham’s throw kicked away from Jaramillo. Worth saw the ball get loose and turned again. He got away with his base running mistake, scoring easily to give the Mud Hens a 1-0 lead. Gallagher next hit 2B Will Rhymes with a pitch. Tribe manager Dean Treanor took a walk out to the mound, but Gallagher convinced his manager to let him stay. Gallagher had only a short leash, though. He walked Salazar, and Treanor made another walk to the mound, this time ending Gallagher’s night. Gallagher had thrown 76 pitches (Weber’s total was 115), with 34 strikes.
Jared Hughes came on in relief of Gallagher. The righty ended the bottom of the 5th by getting Perez to ground out.
The Indians responded to the Hens’ run with a rally in the top of the 6th. With one out, rehabbing DH Jose Tabata took a fly ball into right field. He did not slow down as he rounded first, and slid into second base just barely ahead of the throw from RF Guez, for a double. SS Jordy Mercer slipped a grounder up the middle, and this time it was Tabata who ran through the stop sign from his manager. To the Indians’ surprise, Toledo CF Salazar made the scoop of the single, but did not throw back to the infield. Maybe Salazar never imagined that Tabata, coming off a leg injury, would try to score on the play. But that’s what Tabata did, and he scored standing up, to tie the game.
Bowker struck out for the second out of the inning, then Hague ripped a line drive just inside the first base bag and down into the right field corner. Guez chased the ball down and fired back to the infield, as Mercer raced around from first base. The throw came in a few steps in front of the plate, and Mercer slid in easily to give the Tribe a 2-1 lead. Hague advanced to third on the throw, and he was already on the base when C St. Pierre’s relay throw reached third base. He got no further, though, as a pop out ended the inning.
That was all the scoring. The Indians put one base runner on in each of the last three innings, but none of them scored. Durham doubled with two outs in the 7th, and Bowker singled with two outs in the 8th. Harrison lined a double into center field with one out in the top of the 9th.
Jared Hughes returned to the mound for the bottom of the 6th inning. He walked the first two batters he faced, Strieby and Inge. Guez tried to drop down a sacrifice bunt, but Hughes jumped off the mound and pounced on the ball in time to throw to third for a force out on the lead runner Strieby. Then Hughes got Thorman to ground into a double play, Harrison to Mercer to Clement (4-6-3) to end the threat.
Justin Wilson pitched the next two innings for the Tribe. He retired the side in the 7th, then allowed only a walk to Strieby in the 8th. The inning ended with a stellar force out play at second base. 2B Harrison went to his right and behind the second base bag to make the stop on a grounder up the middle by Inge. He flipped the ball to SS Mercer, who was still running toward the bag. Then it became a foot race between Mercer and Strieby — which Mercer won by a split second, to end the inning.
Closer Tim Wood took over for the bottom of the 9th. Wood gave up a one-out single to Thorman and a walk to Worth, then got a fly out and a pop out to end the inning and the game, earning his league-leading 23rd Save of the season.
The win gives the Indians a 3-2 lead of this 6-game split-location series. The final game of the series will be in Toledo on Tuesday, then the Indians will travel to Columbus for a 2-game series with the Clippers.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Matt Hague’s RBI double in the top of the 6th, which drove in Jordy Mercer with the go-ahead run.
Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game: Two plays by Jordy Mercer at shortstop. In the bottom of the 3rd, Max St. Pierre rifled a line drive that was headed for left field. Mercer made a huge leap to snag the line drive and end the inning. Then in the bottom of the 8th, on a ball hit by Brandon Inge, Mercer took the flip from Josh Harrison on the run, then won a race to second base, to force out Ryan Strieby who was coming from first base.
Jose Tabata went 1-for-4 with a double in the game. No walks, no strikeouts.
This one-run game means that 11 of the Indians’ last 13 games have been won or lost by one run.
The 10 walks is a season high for the Indians, besting (?) their 9-walk game on June 9th in Buffalo. Sean Gallagher also started that game, but he was responsible for only 3 walks that night. He took the loss, allowing 9 runs (8 earned) on 9 hits in 6 innings. It was reliever Dan Meyer who walked 6 batters in just 1.1 innings, and was ejected from the game when he hit a batter after walking 4 in the 8th inning.
(photos by Nancy)