Fighting to keep their flickering playoff hopes alive, the Indianapolis Indians played deep into the night before Pedro Ciriaco’s base hit knocked in the winning run to give the Tribe a 5-4 victory. Ciriaco’s game winner came after the Indians and Mud Hens combined to leave 29 runners on base over 11.2 long innings
With the win, Indianapolis improves to 73-66 on the season, while the loss drops Toledo’s record to 65-74. The win also draws the Indians with-in three games of the International League Wild Card lead and improves their record to 11-9 against the Mud Hens this season.
Ciriaco’s walk-off base knock gave the Indianapolis bullpen a well deserved victory as relievers Steven Jackson, Daniel Moskos, Aaron Heilman, Evan Meek, Justin Wilson, Jared Hughes and Justin Thomas combined to allow just one run over 8.1 innings of work. The lone blemish came off Meek (1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER) who was pinned with a blown save, while Jackson (1.1 IP, 1 BB, 1 SO), Moskos (1.0 IP, 2 H), Heilman (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 SO), Wilson (2.0 IP, 2 SO) and Thomas (1.0 IP, 1 SO) all turned in scoreless outings.
Thomas notched his eighth win out of the Tribe bullpen this season in what was his IL leading 61st appearance, while Moskos and Heilman earned their eighth and third holds respectively. Despite ultimately being pinned with the loss, the Toledo bullpen also turned in an excellent effort as Robbie Weinhardt (2.0 IP, 3 BB, 2 SO), David Purcey (3.0 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 2 SO) and Enrique Gonzalez (1.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO) combined to allow just one unearned run over 6.2 innings of relief.
Gonzalez was pinned with the loss to fall to 4-6 on the season for the Mud Hens, while Toledo starter Ramon Garcia (5.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO), who allowed four scores over five innings, did not figure in the final decision.
Toledo jumped out to an early 3-0 advantage with a single score in the second and two tallies in the third. Major Leaguer Carlos Guillen began an excellent offensive night when he started the rally with a base hit to lead-off the second.
The Indians, however, battled back to even the score with three tallies of their own in the bottom half of the fourth. 3B Pedro Alvarez began the rally with a one out base knock, before the Indians loaded the bases with a single by C Jason Jaramillo and base on balls by Durham.
CF Gorkys Hernandez then came through with a clutch two-out two-run base knock to left, plating both Alvarez and Jaramillo to draw the Tribe with-in one at 3-2. Ciriaco followed Hernandez’s clutch base knock with one of his own, as he rolled an infield single to second that scored Durham all the way from second as the Indians’ right fielder never slowed down on his way to crossing the plate and evening the score at 3-3.
2B Jordy Mercer then powered the Indians out to their first lead of the game, when he led off the bottom half of the fifth inning with a solo home run over the left field wall. The longball was the first for an Indians’ batter at Victory Field since August 6 and gave the Tribe infielder a Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization best 18 homers across two levels this season.
The Mud Hens would continue to threaten after the Indians took the 4-3 advantage in the fifth, however, a key defensive play would hold another Toledo score off the board in the sixth. After Rhymes laced a one out single, Guillen came up looking for his second RBI when he ripped a two out double down the right field line, however Durham fielded the ball, fired it to Mercer who gunned it home to cut down Rhymes and maintain the Tribe’s 4-3 lead.
Yet after countless scoring opportunities, Toledo finally broke through with a game tying tally in the top of the eighth. After Dirks lined a lead-off double to left, Rhymes laid down a sacrifice bunt to push Dirks to third, where he would trot home from when LF Timo Perez rolled a double down the right field line.
Ciriaco (3-for-7, 2 RBI) led the way with three hits for the Indians, while 1B Matt Hague (2-for-5), Jaramillo (2-for-5, 1 R, 1 BB) and Hernandez (2-for-5, 2 RBI, 1 BB) also contributed multi-hit efforts for the Tribe. On the other side, Guillen (4-for-5, 2 R, 1 RBI) led all batters with four base knocks, while Rhymes (3-for-5, 1 R) and Worth (2-for-4, 2 RBI< 2 BB) also collected multiple base knocks for the Mud Hens.
Indianapolis now wraps up their season series against Toledo on Wednesday.