INDIANAPOLIS – Following a wildly successful road trip, the Indianapolis Indians (32-29) were back in the Circle City on Monday to take on the International League’s top team in the Toledo Mud Hens (39-23). The Hens certainly looked great in this matchup.
Toledo shut out Indy, limiting the Tribe to just three hits, on their way to a series-opening 4-0 win. The first place Mud Hens now own a 6.5-game lead over the Indians in the division.
Five Hens hurlers combined to stymie Indy’s batters.
Jacob Turner pitched the first three innings, giving up one hit and walking two. Phillippe Aumont worked the next two innings, retiring everyone he faced. Victor Alcantara toed the rubber in the sixth and seventh, keeping the home team off of the scoreboard. Zac Houston struck out two in a scoreless eighth. And finally in the ninth, former Indian Johnny Barbato needed just 14 pitches to throw a 1-2-3 final frame.
In all, the Mud Hens struck out 14 batters on the night.
Indians starter Alex McRae was solid, surrendering four runs over 5.1 innings. Toledo picked up eight hits in total and scored two late runs versus Johnny Hellweg that were charged to McRae’s line, helping send the righty to his sixth loss of the season.
Despite leading the team in losses with those six defeats, McRae hasn’t been bad for Indianapolis. He has given up more than three runs in a start just twice since the end April (tonight being his second such outing), a month in which he did that three separate times.
Another big storyline in Monday’s ballgame was the addition of two former major leaguers to the Tribe’s roster.
First, Adam Frazier was sent down to Indianapolis from Pittsburgh due to a sluggish start (.237 batting average in 56 games). Frazier started at second base and hit second in Indy’s lineup on Monday, collecting a single and stealing a base in four at-bats.
Jung Ho Kang also made his season debut with the Indians, his third stint with the club. Kang missed all of the 2017 season and just recently returned to the United States to crush the opposition with High-Bradenton. He hit .417 with three homers and 11 RBI in seven games with the Mauraders, prompting the Pirates to skip a stop in Altoona and promote him straight to Triple-A. Kang started at third base in this game and hit third, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
Game two of this four-game set is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start on Tuesday. J.T. Brubaker (3-2, 3.09 ERA) aims to get the Tribe back on track.