Heartbreak as Hens fall 5-4 to Indians

Toledo Mud Hens
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – The Indianapolis Indians defeated the Toledo Mud Hens on Saturday night at Victory Field by a score of 5-4.

Hens right-handed starter Rony Garcia opposed knuckleballer Steven Wright for the Indians. Both kept the bats quiet early, as Wright retired seven straight to start the game while Garcia struck out three through his first two frames. After two, the game remained scoreless.

Brady Policelli drew a one out walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then scored on a base hit to left off the bat of Zack Short, putting the Mud Hens up 1-0 in the third. In the bottom half of the third, the Indians put a runner on after a one-out single. Kevin Kramer attempted to move into scoring position by stealing second base, but Brady Policelli gunned him down to end the inning.

The Indians started the bottom half of the fifth with back-to-back singles, bringing up leadoff man Travis Swaggerty. Garcia responded by making a good pitch and was able to get him to pop out to the shortstop. With still only one out, Garcia made a wild throw on a pickoff attempt to second base, allowing both runners to move into scoring position. Cole Tucker walked to load the bases and bring Kevin Kramer to the dish. Kramer hit a hard ground ball to first baseman Renato Nunez, whose only play was to flip to Rony Garcia for the out at first, tying the game at one apiece. With two on and two out, Dustin Fowler came to the plate and ripped a three-run homer down the right field line, giving Indianapolis a 4-1 lead. A tremendous catch from Derek Hill in deep right center finally ended the inning, but the damage had already been done.

After cruising through four, a rough fifth inning tainted Rony Garcia’s final line of five innings, six hits, four runs, three walks, and five strikeouts. Indians starter, Steven Wright, also departed after five innings, conceding just the one run.

Beau Burrows came on for the sixth for the Mud Hens and recorded a smooth 1-2-3 inning. Lefty Joe Jacques for Indianapolis came on for the sixth and back out for the seventh. The top of the frame started with a bunt hit from Cole Peterson, bringing Brady Policelli to the plate. Another wild pitch and then a throwing error from Indians second baseman Ethan Paul put men at the corners with no outs. A safety squeeze from Derek Hill scored Peterson and advanced Policelli to second, making it a 4-2 game. Zack Short lined out for the second out of the inning, bringing the hot-hitting Victor Reyes to the plate. With an open base, Reyes walked on five pitches, bringing up the go-ahead run for the Mud Hens. With two on and two out, Isaac Paredes hit a ground ball up the middle that was stopped by shortstop Cole Tucker, but an errant throw from him to home allowed Policelli to score, Reyes to move up to third, and Paredes to take second. Joe Jacques induced a lazy pop up from Christin Stewart to end the inning, but the Mud Hens were able to get a pair of runs back and make it a 4-3 game in the seventh.

After easily getting the first two outs in the bottom half of the seventh, Burrows yielded a triple and then a double, allowing Indianapolis to add an insurance run.

The Indians went back to the bullpen in the eighth as Nick Mears came on to pitch. Aderlin Rodriguez reached on a swinging bunt, bringing the tying run to the plate once again for the Hens. Peterson hit a ball sharply, but right at Chris Sharpe who made the catch for the Indians. Mears then spotted some off-speed pitches effectively, striking out Brady Policelli to end the inning. Wladimir Pinto came on to make his second appearance of the season out of the pen for Toledo since being called up a week ago. After surrendering a one-out single, the Hens turned a nifty 3-6-3 double play to end the eighth.

Mears returned to the mound for the ninth to face the 9-1-2 hitters of Toledo. Derek Hill struck out swinging on a big breaking ball, but Zack Short reached after getting hit by a pitch. Yariel Gonzalez came in as a pinch-runner for Short with the Mud Hens still chasing two. Victor Reyes roped a single to right, putting men on first and second with one out for Isaac Paredes, who represented the go-ahead run. Paredes proceeded to smoke a ball to left field, scoring Gonzalez from second, making it a 5-4 game with runners still on first and second. That ended the night for Nick Mears as righty Tyler Bashlor came on, seeking a two-out save for the Indians. Christin Stewart walked to load the bases and Renato Nunez trotted to the plate, looking to put the Hens in front. A savvy 0-2 backdoor breaking ball from Bashlor froze Nunez for the second out of the inning. Aderlin Rodriguez was the last hope for Toledo. He fell behind in the count and waved at a 1-2 curveball in the dirt, ending the game in heartbreaking fashion as Indianapolis escaped with a 5-4 victory.

What’s Next:

The Mud Hens play their final game of the six game road series tomorrow afternoon at 1:35 p.m. at Victory Field. They then return home to open up a six game homestand against the Columbus Clippers on Tuesday.

Hens Notes:

  • With singles tonight, Victor Reyes and Isaac Paredes both extended their hit streaks to five.
  • The Mud Hens scored first for the first time this season in Saturday night’s game with their run in the third inning.
  • Aderlin Rodriguez recorded his third straight multi-hit game and fifth of the season, a team-high.

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