INDIANAPOLIS – In need of a good outing on the mound, the Indianapolis Indians (3-3) turned to their Opening Day starting pitcher in Nick Kingham. The right-hander delivered.
Kingham gave up one run on three hits and six strikeouts, propelling the Tribe to a 4-1 win over the Toledo Mud Hens (4-2). Seven Indianapolis batters collected hits on Wednesday, helping get Kingham the run support he required.
For the third consecutive game, the Hens scored in their first at-bat.
Unlike scoring six and four runs, respectively, in the first inning of the past two games, Toledo got just one on Wednesday. Back-to-back one-out knocks gave Christin Stewart a chance to drive in a run and he did just that, lifting a sacrifice fly to right.
Kingham was spectacular following that opening frame. The right-hander faced the minimum the rest of the way, striking out six on his way to completing six strong innings of work.
Through four innings, however, Kingham was outdone by Mud Hens starter Ryan Carpenter. Toledo’s southpaw limited Indy to one hit and a hit by pitch through four, but the home team’s bats came alive starting in the fifth.
Jacob Stallings led off with a double. Eric Wood followed with a RBI double. Jerrick Suiter made it three straight hits with a RBI single, giving Indianapolis their first lead of the entire series. Todd Cunningham even singled next to make it four straight hits to start the frame, but Carpenter bared down to keep the Tribe from scoring again in the inning.
Carpenter would not be able to keep the Indians down in the sixth.
Erich Weiss led off with a triple to deep center field, allowing Jose Osuna to come up next and make it 3-1 with a sacrifice fly to right. Kevin Kramer dug in next and singled, bringing up Stallings. Indy’s catcher doubled again, scoring Kramer to extend the Tribe’s advantage to 4-1.
Stallings has been locked in thus far this season, collecting hits in seven of 14 at-bats for a cool .500 batting average. The 28-year-old has also notched seven RBIs, good for a tie for best in the International League.
In relief of Kingham, Tanner Anderson and Kyle Crick wrapped this one up for Indy. Each limited the Mud Hens to one hit, with Anderson pitching two scoreless innings and Crick earning the save with a shutout ninth.
After splitting their season-opening homestand at 3-3, Indianapolis will embark on their first road trip of the season. The seven-game trip begins in Buffalo on Thursday, as the Indians battle the Bisons at 2:05 p.m. Tyler Eppler (1-0, 0.00 ERA) gets the ball for the Tribe.