INDIANAPOLIS – Mother Nature may get an assist in the Indianapolis Indians‘ win on Wednesday afternoon.
The Tribe (34-29) stormed out of a 55-minute rain delay in the middle of the fifth inning by scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth, holding on for a 3-2 victory over the Toledo Mud Hens (39-25). Indy is now within 4.5 games of the first place Hens, with a chance to close that gap to 3.5 in Thursday’s series finale at Victory Field.
Due to a rain delay, Wednesday’s game was a tale of two halves. 4.5 innings were played before the tarp came out, with the Hens owning a 1-0 lead.
Indians starting pitcher Clay Holmes threw five innings, limiting Toledo to a run on five hits and two walks. The Mud Hens’ lone run came from an error from Holmes himself, as he mishandled a spinning grounder off of the bat of Jim Adduci in the third.
Holmes bolted off of the mound to field a dribbler up the first base line, but he couldn’t quite get a good enough grip to toss the ball and had to settle for a footrace versus Adduci – a race that he lost. The play came with two outs and runners on second and third, thus allowing a run to score for the visitors.
Prior to the rain arriving, Toledo’s Tyler Alexander held the Tribe in check. Indianapolis collected three hits in four innings versus the right-hander, but were unable to score.
The second half of Wednesday’s game was decided by Alexander’s return to the bump following the delay.
After sitting around for roughly an hour, Alexander was hit hard by Indy’s bats once he got back to pitching. The Indians started the bottom of the fifth with six consecutive hits, shooting them ahead by a score of 3-1 in an instant.
A caught stealing was the only out of the fifth inning that Alexander got, as the Mud Hens pulled him in favor of Zac Houston. Houston was able to stop the bleeding and leave runners on the corners, but the damage was done.
Indy did not make the same mistake as Toledo, opting to bring Damien Magnifico in to pitch instead of trotting Holmes back out following a lengthy delay.
Magnifico turned in two scoreless frames before the Hens closed within a run in the eighth. Bo Schultz took over in that eighth inning, where Christin Stewart doubled and Adduci singled to cut Indianapolis’ cushion down to 3-2.
Schultz was able to strand Adduci on base to end the eighth, setting the stage for Johnny Hellweg to wrap the win up for the home team. Hellweg did just that, retiring Toledo in order to earn his tenth save of 2018.
On the mound for the Indians in Thursday’s finale will be Nick Kingham (2-1, 2.12 ERA). Kingham pitched well up in Pittsburgh, but is back in Indy following Ivan Nova‘s activation from the disabled list. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.