INDIANAPOLIS – Fresh off of a 5-1 road trip in which they scored 34 total runs, the Indianapolis Indians started a seven-game home stand with another victory fueled by offense.
Each player in the Indians’ lineup recorded either a RBI or a multi-hit game, as the Tribe rode three triples and five sacrifice flies to a 10-5 win over the Toledo Mud Hens on Thursday night at Victory Field.
Indianapolis starting pitcher Adrian Sampson was solid, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings pitched, but ran into trouble in his first inning of work.
After striking out Xavier Henry to begin the frame, Sampson allowed the next three batters to reach to load the bases for Daniel Fields. Toledo’s center fielder would then give the Hens an early 1-0 advantage, hitting a RBI single to right. Sampson would limit the damage, however, by getting Mike Hessman to ground into an inning-ending double play.
The Indians would answer in their half of the first, tying the game at one run each against Toledo starter Ross Seaton. Alen Hanson led off with a triple to right and Jaff Decker quickly made it a 1-1 game by driving in Hanson with a sacrifice fly to left.
Toledo would mimic the Indians in the top of the third, taking back their one-run lead the same way the Tribe tied the game. Henry started the frame with a triple and scored when Josh Wilson followed with a sacrifice fly, giving the Mud Hens a 2-1 lead.
In their half of the third, Indianapolis scored a pair of runs against Seaton to go in front.
After Kelson Brown and Hanson led off with back-to-back singles, Decker moved them up with a sacrifice bunt. Steve Lombardozzi followed by tying the game with a RBI groundout, with Brent Morel giving the Indians a 3-2 lead with a RBI single.
The Tribe would then extend their lead and knock Seaton out of the game with a four-run fifth inning.
The first three batters of the frame reached before Tony Sanchez came up with the big hit. Sanchez drilled a 1-0 pitch to left that cleared the bases and gave the Indians a 6-2 lead with still no one out in the inning. Elias Diaz then singled, the fifth straight Indian to reach base to start the inning, before Hunter Morris‘ sacrifice fly increased Indianapolis’ lead to five runs.
Seaton would complete the fifth for the Hens, allowing seven runs on ten hits in five innings on the mound.
Sampson would keep Indianapolis’ lead at five runs until the seventh, when he was unable to record an out.
Corey James led off with a double and Hessman followed with a RBI single, forcing Indianapolis to call on their bullpen. Collin Balester replaced Sampson, but would only get one out. A bloop single from Henry put runners on first and second, followed by Wilson hitting a RBI single to make it 7-4. Balester then forced a groundout for the first out of the inning before walking Jefry Marte to load the bases. A.J. Morris then took over for Balester and successfully got out of the jam by getting Fields to hit into a double play.
The Indians would get a run back in the bottom of the seventh, when they scored on another triple and sacrifice fly. This time it was Sanchez with the triple and Diaz with the sacrifice fly, making it an 8-4 game after seven innings.
A two-out rally against Morris in the eighth allowed the Mud Hens to cut into their deficit again. James drew a walk and would come all the way around from first to score on a RBI double by Manny Pina to make it 8-5.
Indianapolis would add two insurance runs in their half of the eighth, with their third triple of the night starting the frame. Gorkys Hernandez recorded the three-base hit this time, tripling to left and scoring on a sacrifice fly by Hanson. Lombardozzi would notch the Indians’ tenth run and fifth sacrifice fly of the night by later scoring Brown from third to give Indianapolis a 10-5 advantage.
Deolis Guerra came on in the ninth for the Tribe, retiring Toledo in order to secure Indianapolis’ fourth consecutive victory.
The Indians and Mud Hens will meet again on Friday night, when Clayton Richard (1-1, 4.02 ERA) starts for the Tribe. First pitch from Victory Field is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.