The Indianapolis Indians (10-4) won their fifth straight game and earned the series sweep behind a dominating pitching performance from starter Kyle Waldrop and relievers Ryan Reid and Vic Black, who combined to shut out the Toledo Mud Hens (3-11) 2-0 on Wednesday night at Fifth Third Field.
Making his first start since September 2, 2007, Indians RHP Kyle Waldrop (6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO) turned in one of the most dominating efforts by an Indians’ hurler this season. The long time reliever, who had not pitched more than 3.2 innings in any contest since 2007, went an Indians season long 6.2 innings on Wednesday night. The right hander allowed just two hits and a walk over those 6.2 innings, while striking out three on his way to earning an impressive victory in just his second appearance with the Tribe this season.
The only two base hits that Waldrop surrendered on the evening were back-to-back singles to CF Quintin Berry and SS Gustavo Nunez to lead off the bottom of the fourth. However, Waldrop quickly ended that lone Mud Hens threat by inducing a double play ball off the bat of LF Nick Castellanos.
Following Waldrop, Tribe relievers, Ryan Reid (1.1 IP, 1 SO) and Vic Black (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 SO) combined for 2.1 inning of scoreless relief,Â continuing the run of dominance from the Indianapolis bullpen, which has now posted a ridiculous 1.78 ERA with 59 strikeouts and just 13 walks over 55.2 innings this season. Reid tossed 1.1 perfect innings to earn his second hold of 2013, while closer Vic Black notched his third save with a scoreless ninth.
Thanks to superb efforts by the three Tribe hurlers, the Indianapolis offense provided all the offense they needed with two scores in the top of the third. CF Felix Pie led off the frame with a base hit to right, before a strikeout and fly out brought 2B Jordy Mercer to the plate in a key two-out situation. Mercer came through in the clutch, doubling to left to plate Pie, before 1B Brandon Inge singled home Mercer to give the game it’s final 2-0 score.
Mercer (2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI) also added an 8th inning single to finish the night as the only batter on either side with multiple hits.
Toledo starter Duane Below (7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO) suffered the tough luck loss to fall to 1-1 on the season, despite allowing just two runs on three hits over seven strong innings. Below became the first starter to go at least seven innings and still suffer the loss against the Tribe, since Rochester Red Wings starter Liam Hendriks was pinned with the loss despite goingÂ 7.0 innings on August 17, 2012.
Toledo relievers Jose Ortega (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 SO) and Evan Reed (1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 SO) also pitched well in defeat, each working scoreless innings out of the Mud Hens bullpen.
After facing off for eight games against Columbus and six against Toledo to begin the season, Indianapolis will now head to Louisville to take on the division rival Bats for the first time, beginning with a 6:35 p.m. start on Thursday night. LHP Kris Johnson (1-1, 1.64 ERA) is expected to take the mound for the Tribe, while the Bats are scheduled to counter with RHP Pedro Villarreal (0-2, 7.27 ERA).
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