Four Toledo hurlers combined to strike out 12 Tribe batters, while the Mud Hens offense took advantage of eight Indianapolis walks and a hit-by-pitch on their way to a 5-1 Opening Night victory in front of a Fifth Third Field record 13,227 fans on Friday night.
Toledo starter Adam Wilk (5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K) turned in a masterful performance in the Opening Day start, holding the Tribe to just one hit, while striking out six over five innings of work to earn the victory. Following Wilk, relievers Brayan Villarreal (2.0 IP, 1 H, 3 SO) and former Indians closer Chris Bootcheck (1.0 IP, 1 H, 3 SO) combined to strike out four over three innings of scoreless relief.
Outside of a second inning solo home run from Mud Hens 3B Audy Ciriaco, the brother of former Indians INF Pedro Ciriaco, every other Toledo tally took advantage of either a walk or hit-by-pitch. Toledo was thus able to push across five scores without a multi-hit performance with 1B Ryan Strieby (1-for-4, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB) turning in the lone multi-RBI effort with his two-run first inning single.
The Indians single score came off the bat of OF Starling Marte, who plated SS Chase d’Arnaud with a ninth inning triple. Marte’s three-base hit was one of only four on the evening for the Tribe with 2B Jordy Mercer, C Eric Fryer and LF Gorkys Hernandez collecting the other three.
Control issues haunted Indians starter Justin Wilson (5.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 BB, 6 K), who despite six strikeouts in just five innings, allowed three runs on six walks and two hits on his way to suffering the season opening loss. Indians reliever Bryan Morris (1.0 IP, 4 SO) was a bright spot out of the Tribe bullpen as the right handed hurler struck out four in just a single inning of work.
The loss was the Indians fifth straight Opening Day defeat, but they will look to bounce back in game two of the three-game season-opening series with Toledo, which is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Saturday night. LHP Jeff Locke is expected to take the mound for the Tribe, while fellow southpaw Drew Smyly is the probable starter for the Mud Hens.