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Indians Down Mudhens 3-1

Left fielder Brett Carroll bIndians logolasted a two-run first-inning homer, while starter Phil Irwin allowed just one run over six innings to help lead the Indianapolis Indians to a 3-1 win over the Toledo Mud Hens on Monday night at Victory Field.

One night after INF Brandon Inge belted a first inning longball for his first hit in an Indians’ uniform, Carroll followed suit as he launched a two-run shot over the left-field fence to give the Tribe a quick 2-0 advantage in the opening frame.  Carroll’s first-inning two-run homer plated LF Darren Ford, who led off the game with a triple to center field.

Ford would also speed his way to a seventh-inning triple to become the first Indians’ batter to collect two three-baggers in a single contest since Michael Ryan accomplished the feat against Toledo at Victory Field on August 11, 2007. Ryan is now the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates Low-A affiliate West Virginia Power.

Carroll’s early longball would give starter Phil Irwin all the support he would need in his first start of the season, as the right hander surrendered just one run on four hits over six innings to earn the victory. Irwin, who earned the Indians’ final triumph of 2012 with a brilliant performance in game three of the International League semifinal playoffs against Charlotte, walked just one batter while striking out five.

The lone score on the evening for the Mud Hens came in the 5th inning when CF Quintin Berry led off with a double, moved to second on a groundout, and came plateward on a sacrifice fly off the bat of LF Nick Castellanos.

Indianapolis’ third tally of the contest came in the fourth frame when DH Jared Goedert and C Tony Sanchez lined back-to-back two-out doubles. The two-bagger for Sanchez was his first hit of the season, ending an 0-for-6 slump to begin 2013.

Following Irwin’s departure from the contest, the Indians’ bullpen continued it’s dominance with LHP Mike Zagurski and RHP Bryan Morris combining for three scoreless innings of relief. Zagurski (1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 SO) worked around two singles to earn his second hold of the season, while Morris (2.0 IP, 1 SO) worked two perfect innings to notch his second save. Overall  the Tribe bullpen has now tossed 15.2 straight scoreless innings since surrendering a score in the seventh inning against Columbus on April 5.

Toledo starter Jose Alvarez (4.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO) suffered the loss on Monday night after allowing all three Tribe runs on seven hits and one walk over four innings. The Mud Hens bullpen turned in a fantastic performance in a losing effort as RHP Luke Putkonen (3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 SO) and RHP Jose Ortega (1.0 IP, 1 BB, 3 SO) combined to strike out five over four scoreless innings of relief.

The victory was the Indians third straight and moves them above .500 for the first time in 2013. Indianapolis and Toledo will now continue their series on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. with LHP Andy Oliver expected to make the start for the Tribe, and RHP Shawn Hill scheduled to take the mound for the Mud Hens.

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