TOLEDO, OH – On the heels of an exhilarating win on Monday night, the Indianapolis Indians (42-33) rolled past the Toledo Mud Hens (44-32) on Tuesday afternoon.
Jordan Luplow hit a two-run homer, Indy went off for five runs in the third inning and starting pitcher Tyler Eppler threw 6.1 scoreless innings in the Tribe’s convincing 7-1 victory in Toledo. Indianapolis is now just 1.5 games behind the Hens for first place in the IL West, with one more game to play in the series on Wednesday night. It’s the closest they’ve been to first since May 5.
Luplow, who came up with the big hit in Monday’s win, picked up where he left off on Monday. Max Moroff led off the top of the first with a single and Luplow stepped up to the plate with two outs, mashing a two-run bomb to left to quickly put the Indians ahead 2-0.
The Tribe got it going again in the third, again with a two-out rally.
Moroff successfully led off in a second consecutive at-bat, doubling to begin the third. Adam Frazier grounded out and Chris Bostick struck out, but Luplow drew a seven-pitch walk to keep hope alive. That brought Kevin Kramer to the batter’s box and he doubled, scoring both runners to make it 4-0. Wyatt Mathisen added a RBI single next, extending the lead to 5-0. Finally, Erich Weiss provided the punch to cap the offensive attack. Weiss homered right, his fourth long ball of the year, to make the score 7-0 in favor of Indy.
All of those runs were more than enough for Eppler, who was on top of his game on Tuesday.
Eppler held the Hens to four hits, did not walk a batter and struck out four to earn his team-best eighth win of 2018. The right-hander cruised through his first six innings of work before Toledo was able to get two singles in the seventh, ending his day after a season-long 6.1 stellar frames.
Eppler had struggled on the road this season (6.21 ERA in 29 innings pitched), making this outing all the more impressive.
Bo Schultz (1.2 innings) and Josh Smoker (one inning) secured the win for Indy. Smoker gave up a home run to Chad Huffman with one out in the ninth, leaving the Indians one run shy of their ninth shutout of the year, but he was able to close this game out nonetheless.
Wednesday’s series finale will be started by Indianapolis righty Alex McRae (2-7, 5.30 ERA). Game time from Fifth Third Field is slated for 7:05 p.m.