Game 1: Toledo Mud Hens 3, Indianapolis Indians 1
Doubles figured big in the scoring in the first game of today’s double header at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio. Each team collected 3 doubles, though the Mud Hens made better use of them than the Indians did. Both starting pitchers threw complete 7-inning games.
The game began with 4.5 scoreless innings, and each team posting one hit. Tribe starter Rudy Owens had two innings in which he retired the Mud Hens in order, and two innings in which he had to work out of jams. The bottom of the 2nd began with a double by DH John Lindsey. Owen’s wild pitch allowed Lindsey to move to third base, but Owens halted him there. Two ground outs, one to third and one to second, did not let Lindsey score, then a third ground out ended the inning.
The Mud Hens’ 3rd inning rally was an even bigger jam. 2B Matt Young left off with a walk, then advanced to second base on a balk. A ground out pushed Young over to third base. He tried to score from third on CF Justin Henry’s ground out to first, but 1B Matt Hague’s throw back to home let C Tony Sanchez tag out Young at the plate. Sanchez ended the inning with another smart play, throwing out Henry as he tried to steal second base.
The Indians put only two runners on base in those first 4.5 innings, but had the same results. Matt Hague reached base on a fielding error by Young to lead off the 2nd. He was immediately erased in a double play. Hague also led off the top of the 5th, this time with the Indians’ first hit of the game, beating out the throw on a grounder to third, for an infield hit. Unfortunately, another timely double play removed Hague from the bases again.
Toledo finally got onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the 5th. With one strike out, Owens hit 1B Danny Dorn with a pitch. C Bryan Holaday doubled into right field, moving Dorn to third. After a second strikeout, 3B Audy Ciriaco (brother of the former Indy Indian Pedro Ciriaco) singled through the left side of the infield, driving in Dorn from third. Holaday also tried to score on the play. The throw in from LF Starling Marte came in to the first-base side of the plate, but Tony Sanchez was able to make the catch and hop back the two steps to the plate in time. Holaday came in fast and hard and tried to bowl over Sanchez. Unlike a few days ago, this time Sanchez was able to hold onto the ball as he was knocked back, and Holaday was out. Toledo took a 1-0 lead.
The Indians got the run back in the bottom of the frame. With two out, 2B Anderson Hernandez lifted a double into right field. SS Chase d’Arnaud drove in Hernandez with a second double, this one ripped into left field. That tied the score at 1-1.
The Mud Hens got going again in the bottom of the 6th. With one out, former Indy Indian SS Argenis Diaz doubled into left field. RF Ben Guez took a triple into the right field corner, driving in Diaz with the go-ahead run. After a walk to Lindsey, LF Jerad Head lined a single into right field, scoring Guez from third with an insurance run.
The Tribe did not force the Hens to use that insurance run. With two outs in the top of the 7th, the Indians threatened on a double by 3B Yamaico Navarro and a single by Sanchez, giving the Tribe runners on the corners. But a fly out ended the inning without another run scoring and the Mud Hens had taken the first game.
The Indians put up 5 hits in this game. Three were doubles, by Chase d’Arnaud, Yamaico Navarro, and Anderson Hernandez. Matt Hague’s and Tony Sanchez’s hits were both singles.
Rudy Owens pitched all 6 innings, allowing the 3 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts. He threw 109 pitches (66 strikes) in what turned out to be his 5th loss of the season.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Back-to-back doubles by Anderson Hernandez and Chase d’Arnaud in the top of the 6th, giving the Indians their only run in the game.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Starling Marte’s throw in from left field in the bottom of the 5th, with Tony Sanchez making the catch, getting to the plate, and withstanding a crash by Bryan Holaday, to make the out on Holaday.
Game 2: Indianapolis Indians 9, Toledo Mud Hens 3
The Indians took the nightcap, thanks to a key error by the Mud Hens and key hits by the Tribe batters. The two teams combined for 22 hits and 12 runs, but the Indians had the majority of both of those. CF Jose Tabata and 1B Matt Hague had 3 hits each, and again the Tribe collected 3 doubles. This was a “bullpen game”, with Kris Johnson and Bryan Morris taking 3 innings each and Doug Slaten finishing up.
The first inning was scoreless, despite each team putting one runner on base. The second inning was when the Indians exploded for 7 runs as they sent 11 batters to the plate. Hague led off with a single into center field, ticking off the glove of 3B Bryan Pounds. The next two batters struck out, then RF Brandon Boggs grounded to second, which should have been an easy third out. But 2B Argenis Diaz, the former Indian, missed the play. Boggs reached base on the error, and things got crazy after that. C Eric Fryer singled, and Hague scored from second base (run 1). 2B Brian Friday grounded just inside the left field line for a double, plating both Boggs and Fryer (2 and 3). SS Anderson Hernandez singled to put runners on the corners. CF Jose Tabata also singled, driving in Friday from third (4). The bases were loaded when LF Starling Marte walked. Hague, up for the second time in the inning, cleared the bases with a double into the left field corner (5,6, and 7). The inning ended when DH Jeff Clement flied out.
The Mud Hens began chipping away at that 7-0 lead right away. In the bottom of the 2nd, doubles by LF Jerad Head and SS Audy Ciriaco brought in one run, making the score 7-1. Tribe starter Kris Johnson loaded the bases in the 3rd inning by giving up back-to-back singles to CF Justin Henry and 2B Argenis Diaz, then hitting Head with a pitch. 1B Danny Dorn drove in Henry from third base with a single lined into right field. Johnson ended the inning with a strikeout, and Toledo had brought the score to 7-2. Johnson allowed those 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk, with 4 strike outs in his 3 innings. He threw 57 pitches (37 strikes), not bad for a pitcher who is usually used for long relief.
Bryan Morris took the mound in relief to begin the 4th. He retired the side in order in that inning, then gave up the final Toledo run in the 5th. With one out, RF Ben Guez walked, then advanced to third base on DH John Lindsey’s double into center field. Head singled to left field, bringing in Guez from third base. A strange play followed — Dorn lifted a short pop fly to behind the mound. Morris went back and tried to make an over-the-shoulder catch, but the ball fell, and Morris, SS Anderson Hernandez, and 2B Brian Friday all got mixed up together, with at least one of them ending up on the ground, as they all scrambled after the ball. Luckily for them, 3B Yamaico Navarro had raced toward second base to back up the play. Navarro scooped up the ball and ran the few steps to second base for the force out on Head. Lindsey, who had been on third base was either asleep or so amazed at the goofy play that he missed his opportunity to take off for home — he remained on third base. A fly out ended the inning, without the Mud Hens scoring again. That was the closest the Mud Hens would get to the Indians, 7-3.
The Indians threatened again in the 3rd. Navarro started the inning with a double into center field. Fryer singled, and Friday walked, to load the bases with one out. That sent Toledo starter Rob Waite to the showers. Reliever Luke Putkonen took the mound, and he got Hernandez to bounce into a double play to end the threat. Another double play erased Tabata after he singled in the 4th inning.
The top of the 7th brought the Indians even more insurance. Tabata again led off with a single, and two more consecutive singles followed. Marte singled, as Tabata raced around to third, then Marte moved up to second base on defensive indifference. Hague lined a single into center field, which brought in both Tabata and Marte, for a 9-3 lead. The Mud Hens turned yet another double play to end that inning.
Doug Slaten took over for Morris for the bottom of the 7th. Slaten allowed a single to Guez, on a bloopy ball that twisted up and behind first base. Friday headed for the foul line, with Boggs and Hague also chasing after him. Friday tried for a sliding catch, but missed the ball, which fell in just inside the foul line. Slaten then turned the tables on the Mud Hens by getting Lindsey to bounce into a double play. A fly out ended the game.
Bryan Morris was credited with the win, his second of the season. He was “more effective” than Johnson, who had not pitched enough innings to qualify for the win.
The Indians and Mud Hens continue this series with games on Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday the Indians will return to Victory Field for an 8-game home stand.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Matt Hague’s double in the big 2nd inning, which drove in 3 runs.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Quick thinking by Yamaico Navarro, who was in the right position at the right time in the 5th. He made a force out play at second base after other infielders looked a little bit like the Three Stooges.
A win by the Columbus Clippers tonight combined with the split of the double header meant that the Indians’ lead in the International League Western Division was cut to 9.5 innings. Not time to panic yet. The Mud Hens are in third place, 20.5 games back, and the Louisville Bats are in fourth place, 24 games back.