• Toledo salvages series with walk-off homer over Tribe

    August 31, 2012 No comments

    The Toledo Mud Hens salvaged the final game of the three-game series with a 5-4 win over the Indianapolis Indians on Thursday evening as third baseman Audy Ciriaco belted a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the ninth at Fifth Third Field.

    After Indianapolis had battled back to tie the score at 4-4 with a two-out RBI single by RF Christian Marrero in the top of the ninth, Ciriaco quickly ended the contest in the bottom of the ninth by depositing the third pitch of his at-bat over the left field fence. The longball was Ciriaco’s 12th on the season and helped prevent a three-game series sweep by the Tribe.

    The Indians jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to the dynamic duo of SS Brock Holt and 1B Matt Hague who combined for two early scoring rallies. Holt doubled and later scored the first run of the game on a base hit by Hague in the first before singling and eventually coming plateward on a second base knock by Hague in the third.

    After surrendering the two runs on four combined hits from Holt and Hague, Toledo starter Adam Wilk (6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 SO) would not allow another Tribe base runner and would go on to take a tough-luck no-decision after striking out eight and walking none of six strong innings. The outing continued a run of dominance for Wilk against the Tribe this season as the southpaw is now 1-1 with a miniscule 1.44 ERA (4 ER in 25.0 IP), 28 strikeouts and just six walks over four starts versus the Indians.

    While Wilk found his groove and shut down the Indians offense after the early scoring rallies, LF Jerad Head would blast the Mud Hens back into the ball game. After former Indianapolis INF Argenis Diaz led of the bottom of the third with a base-on-balls, Head hit a two-run homer to center field to even the score at 2-2.

    After Head drew Toledo even with his 11th longball on the season, C Bryan Holaday gave them their first lead of the evening with a clutch two-out base knock in the bottom of the sixth. After a two-out error by the Indians allowed 2B Danny Worth to reach and Ciriaco singled and stole second, Holaday would step to plate and line a two-run base hit to center to give the Mud Hens the 4-2 advantage.

    Indianapolis would not go away quietly, however, as the red hot Holt drove home CF Brandon Boggs with a two-out single after three early walks had loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh. On Holt’s base hit, C Tony Sanchez would be thrown out at the plate to end the threat on an excellent throw by RF Ben Guez in what turned out to be a key play of the contest.

    The base knock for Holt was his third on the night and gave him an amazing four straight three-hit efforts. Since joining the Tribe on August 7, Holt has been unstoppable at the plate as the left-handed hit machine is now batting an unbelievable .440 with 40 hits over 23 games with the Indianapolis.

    Despite drawing the score even in the top of the ninth the Indians would suffer just their second loss over their last 11 games thanks to Ciriaco’s final frame heroics. The walk-off shot by Ciriaco made a winner out of Mud Hens reliever Bruce Rondon (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO), who despite suffering a blown save, earned his first victory to improve to 1-0 on the season.

    On the other side, Indianapolis reliever Doug Slaten (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 3-3 on the season after serving the home run to Ciriaco. Tribe starter Jo-Jo Reyes (3.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO) did not figure in the final decision after allowing two runs on Head’s homer over three innings of work.

    Both bullpens also featured impressive strikeout performances as Indians southpaw Justin Wilson struck out the side in a scoreless eight inning, while Mud Hens right hander Luis Marte punched out four over 1.2 innings of work.

    Despite the loss the Indians (85-55) still return home for their final homestand of the regular season with the best record in the International League. RHP Rick VandenHurk is scheduled to take the mound in search of his team-leading 13th win when the Indians open a two-game set against Toledo on Friday evening at 7:15 p.m., while the Mud Hens are expected to counter with RHP Luke Putkonen.

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