INDIANAPOLIS – For the second straight night, the Toledo Mud Hens (4-1) used the top of the first inning as a springboard to victory.
Toledo scored four of their nine runs in the first, as they took it to Indianapolis Indians (2-3) pitching again. Tribe starting pitcher Casey Sadler was tasked to pitch as long as he possibly could following an extended bullpen night on Monday and it did not go well.
All nine Hens runs came against Sadler, with 11 of Toledo’s 12 hits coming in the righty’s 4.1 innings pitched. The Mud Hens finally staved off a furious ninth inning rally, winning by a final score of 9-6 at Victory Field.
Indy’s pitching continues to be a problem in losses early on this year. The Indians have given up 33 runs combined in their three losses. In their two wins, however, Indianapolis has surrendered just three runs total.
The Tribe were hit with some deja vu on Tuesday night.
On Monday, Toledo knocked Indianapolis starter Austin Coley out in just 0.2 innings of work and scored six runs on eight hits in the top of the first. On Tuesday, the Mud Hens took advantage of an error and took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first on a Jim Adduci grand slam.
All four runs against Sadler were unearned, as the frame technically should have been over. Eric Wood couldn’t hang on to a throw to first that would have produced the second out, allowing the Hens to get their rally started. Toledo ultimately collected five hits in the first inning alone.
The Mud Hens went in front 5-0 against Sadler in the third, but the Indians answered with three in their half of the third.
Warwick Saupold, Toledo’s starter, no-hit the Tribe for the first two innings, but the wheels came off in the third. Saupold, working on a pitch count, issued back-to-back walks to cap his outing.
New Hens hurler Victor Alcantara was unable to clean up the mess. Catcher’s interference loaded the bases. Consecutive run-scoring singles from Max Moroff and Austin Meadows. A Jose Osuna bases loaded walk. Once the dust cleared, Indianapolis was right back in the ballgame at 5-3.
They weren’t back in it for long.
Dawel Lugo‘s double made it 6-3 in the fourth. Jared Saltalamacchia drew a bases loaded walk in the fifth. Ronny Rodriguez doubled home two more in that fifth inning. All of that action was charged to Sadler, who was gassed by the time Indians manager Brain Esposito came and got him before Rodriguez’s hit.
Jordan Luplow brought a run home for the Tribe in their half of the fifth with a sacrifice fly, but it wasn’t until the ninth inning that the home team made things interesting.
Hens reliever Zac Reininger retired the first two Indians batters of the ninth, but Erich Weiss kept the game alive with a walk. Kevin Newman followed with a double. Then Moroff singled to make it 9-5. It was 9-6 once Meadows singled home another run. Lastly Jose Osuna dug in with a chance to tie the score and nearly did, lifting a fly ball to right that fell just shy of the warning track.
Indianapolis will play the final game of this season-opening homestand on Wednesday, with first pitch slated for a bright and early 11:05 a.m. Nick Kingham (0-0, 0.00 ERA) toes the rubber for the Tribe, who look to salvage the final game of the set against Toledo.