One night after managing just one run on four hits, the Indians bats broke out with eight runs on 13 hits led by right fielder Brandon Boggs, who bashed a homer and a triple as well as second baseman Jordy Mercer, who collected a game-high four base knocks to lead Indianapolis over the Toledo Mud Hens 8-7 on Saturday night at Fifth Third Field.
Excellent pitching was the story on Opening Night, but on day two of the 2012 season it was all about the offenses. Indianapolis plated eight runs on 13 hits including two three-run frames, but Toledo kept it close thanks to five extra-base hits including two longballs off the bat of former Tribe 1B Brad Eldred.
After Toledo jumped out to an early lead with a single score in the bottom of the first, Boggs ripped a game-tying RBI triple in the bottom of the second and later scored on a double by C Eric Fryer to give the Indians their first lead of the season at 2-1. After LF Gorkys Hernandez extended the Tribe lead by plating Fryer with a two-out double, Boggs kept the big hits coming as he connected on a solo shot to lead-off the fourth.
The Indians continued to add onto their lead with three more scores in the top of the sixth, including a two-run single from SS Brian Friday and an RBI base knock from Mercer. Mercer would also later come plateward for the Indians final score of the contest when in the eighth inning he doubled with one out and trotted home on a two-bagger from 1B Jeff Clement.
Little did the Indians know that the eighth inning score would prove to be the game-winning run as Toledo came with-in one run with three scores in the bottom of the ninth. After launching a solo shot in the bottom of the seventh, Eldred started the final frame scoring with another solo bomb, before a sacrifice fly and single off the bat of CF Quintin Berry brought the Mud Hens with-in one.
Tribe closer Tim Wood would however manage to get the final out to give the Indians their first victory of the season. Overall, neither pitching staff had a good night as only one pitcher on either side did not serve up a run in their outing.
Earning the victory in relief for the Indians was LHP Doug Slaten (1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 SO), while Toledo starter Drew Smyly (1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO) suffered the loss. Tribe starter Jeff Locke (4.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO) did not figure in the final decision as he scattered eight hits over four innings of work.
The Indians offense turned in four multi-hit performances, while the Mud Hens had five multi-hit efforts of their own. Along with Mercer (4-for-6, 1 R, 1 RBI) and Boggs (2-for-5, 3 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SB), 1B Jeff Clement (2-for-4, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI) and C Eric Fryer (2-for-4, 2 R) also collected multiple hits for Indianapolis.
The Indians and Mud Hens will now wrap up their three-game season-opening series on Sunday night at 5:00 p.m. RHP Brad Lincoln is scheduled to take the hill for Indianapolis, while LHP Andrew Oliver is expected to make the start for Toledo.