The Indianapolis Indians and Toledo Mud Hens split a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon at Victory Field with the Tribe taking game one, 9-2, behind the first three Triple-A RBI of first baseman Jeremy Farrell’s career before the Hens bounced back to take game two, 4-3, with some extra-inning magic and a controversial home run from shortstop Danny Worth.
The Indians offense exploded in game one with eight different players scoring at least run, seven collecting at least one hit and five driving in at least one run. Leading the way offensively for the Tribe was Farrell, who collected a game-high three RBI, including driving in the first two tallies of the contest with a double in the bottom of the second.
After SS Jordy Mercer extended the Tribe’s lead to 3-0 with a base hit in the bottom of the third, Farrell drew a bases loaded walk to force in another score in the top of the fourth. LF Gorkys Hernandez later extended the advantage to 5-0 with an RBI groundout that brought home RF Brandon Boggs.
Though Toledo would tack on two tallies in the fifth, the Indians would not be denied as they put four more runs on the board in the bottom of the sixth, highlighted by a two-run single from DH Jeff Clement.
While the Indianapolis offense belted the Mud Hens pitching staff in game one, Tribe starter Jo-Jo Reyes and reliever Bryan Morris combined to hold Toledo to just two scores over seven solid innings. Reyes (5.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO) scattered seven hits over 5.2 innings to earn the victory and improve to 1-0, while Morris (1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 SO) finished off the contest to earn the Indians first save of the season.
Toledo starter Casey Crosby suffered the loss in game one after surrendering five runs (three earned) on four hits and four walks over just three innings of work.
After earning the victory in game one, the Tribe kept the momentum rolling and jumped out to the lead in game two as C Kris Watts doubled home DH Nick Evans with a clutch two-out base knock in the bottom of the second. However, Toledo would quickly even the score when LF Jerad Head led off the following frame with a solo shot.
The home run by Toledo began a back-and-forth scoring battle as the Indians answered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the third when 2B Brian Friday reached on a three-base error by center fielder Quintin Berry and scored a sacrifice fly by Boggs. A second solo shot from Toledo followed in the top of the fourth, this one off the bat of former Indians slugger Brad Eldred, who curved one around the right field foul pole to even the score at 2-2.
Game two was scheduled for seven innings just like game one, but after the early scoring barrage both teams bats were quickly quieted as the two sides failed to score over the next four frames.
Then came a marathon ninth inning that began with a controversial home run off the bat of Worth and ended with a game-saving base knock from Indians pinch hitter Jeff Clement that scored pinch runner Starling Marte. Worth’s two out longball down the left field line caused a long delay as whether or not the ball left the park was extensively discussed.
In the end, Worth’s blast was ruled a homer and put the Mud Hens out in front heading into the bottom of the ninth. The Indians would not go quietly, however, as Farrell continued his excellent day with a one out base knock to center before being lifted for pinch runner Starling Marte.
Marte proceeded to steal second to set up pinch hitter Jeff Clement who came through with a game-tieing line-drive base hit to center that sent the game further into extra frames. Unfortunately for the Tribe, Toledo benefited from two walks and saw a single from another former Indians infielder in Argenis Diaz that pushed across the eventual game-winning run.
Tribe reliever Jose Diaz (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 0-1 as he struggled with his control early on the in the 10th and surrendered the game-winning score before striking out the side. Despite blowing the save, Toledo reliever Jose Ortega (2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO) took home the victory to improve to 1-1 after tossing the final two frames for the Mud Hens.
Indians starter Rudy Owens (7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO) did not figure in the final decision despite tossing what would have been a complete game had the Tribe been able to pull it out in regulation. On the other side, Toledo starter Ramon Garcia (3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO) had a costly error ruin his night and left after just three innings of work.
The Indians and Mud Hens conclude their four-game series Monday night at 7:05 p.m. Major League veteran A. J. Burnett is scheduled to make a rehab start for Indianapolis, while Toledo is expected to counter with RHP Thad Weber.