Right-hander Brandon Cumpton hurled his team-high tying fourth quality start while left fielder Brett Carroll smashed a two-run shot to send the Indianapolis Indians (27-11) to an 8-2 win over the Toledo Mud Hens (10-28) on Sunday afternoon at Victory Field. The win was the Tribe’s ninth straight home victory, tying the Victory Field era record for consecutive triumphs at home originally set from June 9-20, 1997.
Cumpton (W, 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO) scattered seven hits while allowing just two earned runs through six solid innings of work to pick up his third win of the season. The right-hander surrendered just one extra-base hit in his outing, a solo homer in the fourth, yielded three walks and fanned four while repeatedly escaping jams to minimize most of the potential damage.
The Indians’ offense picked up their starter in the third inning when 2B Ivan DeJesus slapped a one-out single to left, swiped second base and came to rest at third as SS Josh Harrison reached on a fielder’s choice. One batter later, with DH Felix Pie in the box, Toledo starter LHP Casey Crosby uncorked a wild pitch that bounced in front of the plate and scooted all the way to the backstop, allowing Harrison and Pie to advance a bag, and DeJesus to dash home to give the Tribe an early 1-0 edge.
The Hit Collector, Matt Hague, then followed with a line-drive single to right that drove in Harrison and widened the Indians advantage to 2-0. With his single, Hague has now reached base safely in a season-high 19 straight games, a span in which the slugger has hit .329 (23-for-70) with nine runs, five doubles, one homer, 10 RBI and 11 walks.
Toledo immediately responded in the next frame as C Ramon Cabrera turned a 1-1 offering into a solo shot that sailed just over the right field fence, cutting the deficit 2-1. Although Indianapolis has allowed a league-low 17 home runs through the first 38 games of the season, Toledo has now lifted a longball in two straight contests against the home squad.
Both clubs then traded runs over the next two frames beginning with RF Jerry Sands crushing a one-out double in the bottom of the fourth and later scoring on a single to left from DeJesus to push the Tribe up 3-1. The Mud Hens answered in the top of the next frame on an RBI groundout from LF Avisail Garcia, but Indianapolis quickly regained its lead in their half of the fifth as 3B Jared Goedert knocked a two-out RBI double to make the score 4-2.
The two-run lead proved to be more than enough for the Tribe’s stellar bullpen as relievers Ryan Reid (2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER) and Jared Hughes (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 SO) combined to work 3.0 shutout frames and slam the door on the Mud Hens.
Since making his first appearance with the Tribe of 2013, Hughes has worked 5.2 scoreless innings over five appearances, including not allowing a hit in each of his last four outings.
The Indians weren’t finished though, and for good measure, tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the eighth, beginning with LF Brett Carroll putting an exclamation point on the afternoon’s win with a two-run homer to left. After launching just 11 homers in the month of April, Tribe batters have now produced eight big flys in 10 games during May.
Sands and C Brian Jeroloman then kept the rally going with back-to-back singles before DeJesus drew a walk to load the bases with only one out. However, after Toledo induced an infield popout from CF Alex Presley for the second out of the inning, the Mud Hens appeared poised to end the Indians rally in its tracks. Harrison, it seemed, had other ideas as he capped Indianapolis’ rally with a two-out, two-run single to center that gave the Indians an 8-2 win.
LHP Casey Crosby (L, 4.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO) took the loss for the ‘Hens after he was charged with four earned runs in 4.2 innings, while also walking four and striking out four.
Indianapolis and Toledo will conclude their four-game series tomorrow at 11:05 a.m. at Victory Field. The Indians are scheduled to send LHP Kris Johnson (3-2, 3.23) to the mound while the Mud Hens are expected to counter with LHP Ramon Garcia (0-3, 4.24).
The contest will be televised on The MLB Network,