Mud Hens blasts prove too much for Tribe to overcome

The Indianapolis Indians (27-12) plated three runs in the second inning but were unable to match a pair of two-run homers from the visiting squad as the Toledo Mud Hens (11-28) claimed a 6-3 win over the Tribe on Monday afternoon at Victory Field. The defeat, which came in front of a throng of 13,231 fans, snaps the Indians’ Victory Field era record-tying nine straight home wins.

The Indians seemed poised to sweep Toledo for their tenth straight win over the visiting Mud Hens as the home team pounded out three runs off LHP Ramon Garcia (W, 6.0 IP, 3 ER, BB, 3 SO) in the bottom of the second. LF Brett Carroll initiated Indianapolis’ early rally with a leadoff single to left, and quickly scored as C Tony Sanchez smashed an RBI double that bounced off the center field wall to give the Tribe an early 1-0 edge.

RF Jerry Sands followed with a one-out walk and both runners advanced a bag on a wild pitch from Garcia. 2B Ivan DeJesus then brought both Sanchez and Sands plateword with a two-run single that snuck into right field to give the Indians a 3-0 advantage. DeJesus’ base knock continues his recent torrid stretch at the plate, as since April 26 he has produced a .368 average (21-for-5) with seven doubles and two RBI.

Starter Kris Johnson (L, 6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO) preserved the Indians three-run lead in the early goings, but ultimately suffered the loss after allowing four earned runs. The southpaw cruised through the first three innings, facing just one batter above the minimum as he kept Toledo hitless until the fourth frame.

1B Jordan Lennerton notched the Mud Hens first hit of the game when he lined a leadoff single to center field. Detroit Tigers top prospect Nick Castellanos followed with a double that just eluded the outstretched glove of RF Jerry Sands, and as the ball bounced around the right field wall, Lennerton dashed around third and through home to cut the deficit 2-1.

The score marked the first run Johnson has allowed at home this season through 14.1 innings of work, but unfortnately for the Tribe, it wouldn’t be the last either.

Three batters later, C Bryan Holaday brought the Mud Hens with-in a run with an RBI single to left that plated Castellanos and made the score 3-2. 1B Matt Hague then ended the Toledo rally before they could even the score as he made a diving stab to knock down a grounder from CF Quintin Berry and convert the third out of the inning.

In the sixth, Toledo took over the lead for good beginning with DH Danny Dorn reaching on a line-drive single to left, and coming all the way home on the next batter courtesy of a two-run blast from RF Ben Guez that put the Mud Hens up 4-3. Guez’s longball was the third homer in as many games for Toledo, setting a new opponent season-high against the Tribe.

Following a scoreless seventh, the visiting team added a pair of insurance runs courtesy of a two-run homer from Dorn that widened the lead 6-3. Despite entering today’s contest having allowed the fewest homers in the International League, the Tribe surrendered a pair of longballs in one game for the fourth time this season.

Indianapolis threatened in the eighth, putting two runners on with two outs when CF Alex Presley reached on a fielder’s choice and Hague was plunked by a pitch. However, Major League veteran Brayan Villarreal struck out 3B Jared Goedert to end the Tribe’s threat in its tracks.

The Indians again showed signs of life by bringing the tying run to the plate with two outs in the ninth, but pinch hitter Felix Pie was unable to continue his hot month of May as he slapped a broken-bat groundout to second to end the contest.

After plating three runs in the second inning, the Indians were kept scoreless through the contest’s final seven frames as Toledo relievers Villarreal (2.0, H, 0 ER, BB, 3 SO) and Bruce Rondon (1.0 IP, 0 ER, BB, SO) worked 2.0 and 1.0 scoreless innings respectively to close out the Mud Hens 6-3 win.

Indianapolis will now host first-place Buffalo in a clash of the titans beginning on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. at Victory Field. The Tribe is scheduled to toss top prospect RHP Gerrit Cole (2-1, 2.23) while the Bisons are expected to give the ball to Migel Batista (1-1, 6.38).

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