INDIANAPOLIS – As we are into the final week of the 2018 regular season, it now appears there will be a three-team race for the IL West division crown.
The third-place Toledo Mud Hens (69-64) knocked off the second-place Indianapolis Indians (70-64) on Tuesday, drawing the Hens within a half-game of the Tribe. The Columbus Clippers (71-63) rallied for a win at their place, putting them one game ahead of Indy and a game and a half in front of Toledo with just six games remaining on the docket.
J.T. Brubaker started on the mound for Indianapolis and spun yet another gem.
The right-hander lasted six innings, giving up six hits and two walks, but wasn’t helped by a fourth inning error behind him. Toledo scored their only two runs versus Brubaker in that fateful fourth frame, aided by a leadoff throwing error. As a result, the two run-scoring doubles the Hens recorded in the inning went down as unearned on Brubaker’s line.
Brubaker has been brilliant since July 14, giving up no more than two earned runs in each of his last eight starts. His ERA has dipped from 4.01 to 2.95 as a result.
He took a no-decision on this night, though, as Tuesday’s ballgame was even at 2-2 when Brubaker exited. The score would stay locked at two runs each until the eighth, when the Mud Hens broke through for some winning runs.
Damien Magnifico was the man on the hill for Indianapolis and a leadoff walk put Toledo is business quickly. A groundout followed for out number one, but then Jason Krizan roped a RBI double to left to hand the visitors a 3-2 lead. A.J. Schugel replaced Magnifico after that, but issued a walk and a RBI single after getting within an out of stopping the rally.
It wouldn’t have mattered, though, as the Hens shut the door on Indy.
Jacob Stallings, who finished 3-for-4 on the night, singled with two outs in the eighth. But Ryan Lavarnway was unable to knock him in. Then in the ninth, the Indians went down in order to seal their sixth loss in their past eight games.
Game two of this three-game set comes from Victory Field at 1:35 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. Tyler Eppler (12-6, 3.70 ERA) aims to keep the Mud Hens from leapfrogging the Tribe in the standings.