Designated hitter Brad Eldred, left fielder Jerad Head, shortstop Danny Worth and first baseman Ryan Strieby all belted home runs while three Mud Hens hurlers held the Indians to just two hits to help Toledo gain a 2-2 series split with a 9-1 win over Indianapolis on Monday night at Victory Field.
Toledo dominated all sides of the ball on Monday night as they not only belted four home runs and held the Tribe to just three hits, but also stole three bases and did not commit an error. The Mud Hens also spread the wealth offensively as all nine batters scored exactly one run, eight collected as least one hit, and six drove in at least one run.
The Mud Hens quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead with two scores in the top of the first. After a double play plated Toledo’s first tally, former Indianapolis slugger Brad Eldred blasted his fifth home run of the season, a solo shot to right, to extend the advantage to 2-0.
The Mud Hens pushed their lead to four with two more scores in the second, beginning with an RBI-single from 3B Justin Henry that plated RF Matt Young, who had led off the frame with a walk. CF Quintin Berry then brought home Henry with a two-out two-bagger to right.
Indianapolis would get a run back with a blast of their own in the bottom of the third as RF Brandon Boggs ripped a solo bomb to deep right-center field. The longball for Boggs was his team-leading fourth of the season and moved him into second on the team in RBI with seven.
The Mud Hens would, however, put the game away with five runs on three home runs over the next three frames. Head begin the power surge with a solo shot to lead off the fourth, followed by a one-out solo blast from shortstop Danny Worth in the fifth and a game-capping three-run round-tripper from Strieby in the sixth.
2011 Indians MVP Matt Hague returned to the lineup and came through with a ninth-inning RBI-single, but it wasn’t nearly enough as three Mud Hens hurlers held the Tribe to just three base knocks on the night.
Toledo starter Thad Weber (6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO) turned in a brilliant effort as he held he Indians to just one run on two hits, while striking out seven to improve to 2-0 on the season. Weber has now surrendered just one run over 12 innings this season for a miniscule 0.75 ERA across two starts.
Major league veteran A. J. Burnett, who was on a major league rehabilitation assignment with the Indians, struggled as he allowed five runs on seven hits and four walks, while failing to record a strikeout over four innings. Two bright spots out of the Indians’ bullpen were southpaws Daniel Moskos and Doug Slaten, who both struck out a batter in a respective inning of scoreless relief.
The Indians now welcome the two-time defending Triple-A champion Columbus Clippers to Victory Field for a four-game series beginning on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. LHP Justin Wilson is expected to make the start for Indianapolis, while Columbus is scheduled to counter with RHP Corey Kluber.