INDIANAPOLIS – With 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander making a rehab start for the Toledo Mud Hens on Sunday, all eyes were on the mound.
It was the offense at the plate that stole the show, however, as the Mud Hens defeated the Indianapolis Indians by a score of 11-6 to take the final two games of the four-game set.
The Tribe outhit the Hens 13-11, but Toledo’s Mike Hessman, Daniel Fields and Steven Hoya combined for nine RBIs to lead the Mud Hens to victory.
Verlander would only last 2 2/3 innings for Toledo, giving up a pair of runs in the second that put Indianapolis in front.
A single and two walks loaded the bases for the Tribe and with two outs in the inning, Alen Hanson popped up a lazy fly ball to shallow left that looked like the third out. Hens shortstop Dixon Machado lost the ball in the sky, though, and two runs scored to make it 2-0.
Toledo would answer in the top of the third against Indians starter Casey Sadler, tying the game at two runs each. Moya hit a RBI groundout and Hessman followed with a RBI single, making it a 2-2 game.
Verlander’s final inning would be the third, as the Tribe were able to score another run off of the starter. Three singles loaded the bases with one out and Gorkys Hernandez took advantage, hitting a sacrifice fly to center to give Indianapolis a 3-2 lead.
The Hens would call on their bullpen after the sac fly, ending Verlander’s day after just 2 2/3 innings and 79 pitches. He was scheduled to throw 80-85 pitches in the game. The former MVP would be charged with three runs allowed on six hits and two walks.
Indianapolis would stay in front until the fifth, when the Mud Hens scored four runs against Sadler to go ahead.
Fields hit a RBI single to tie the game and with runners on the corners and one out, Hessman took Sadler deep to left for a three-run home run that put Toledo up 6-3. The homer would be knock Sadler out of the game. He would finish by surrendering six runs on seven hits and five walks in five innings of work.
Charlie Leesman replaced Sadler in the sixth, but would not last long. After recording a strikeout and giving up a single, Leesman would exit the game with an injury.
A.J. Morris came on in relief of Leesman, but would see four more runs cross before getting through the sixth.
Morris walked in a run and hit a batter to bring in another before Hessman hit a RBI single and Jefry Marte brought in the fourth run of the inning on a RBI groundout to make it 10-3 in favor of Toledo.
The Hens would add one last run in the top of the seventh, making it 11-3 against Morris. Xavier Henry hit a two-out double and Machado followed with a RBI single to put Toledo eight runs ahead.
Indianapolis would send four pitchers to the mound out of their bullpen, including Hunter Morris (a first baseman) and Wilkin Castillo (a catcher). They would combine to allow five runs on four hits, four walks and two hit batsmen in four innings.
Toledo’s bullpen would find more success, with Rafael Dolis and Josh Zeid combining to toss 6 1/3 solid innings in relief. Dolis threw 3 1/3 innings of shutout baseball, with Zeid keeping the Indians off of the scoreboard in the seventh and eighth before giving up three runs in the ninth.
Steve Lombardozzi singled to lead off, Brent Morel followed with a RBI double and Tony Sanchez made it 11-5 with a RBI single. Elias Diaz finished the scoring with a RBI groundout, as Zeid closed the game out for a 11-6 Mud Hens win.
After dropping the last two games of their series with Toledo, the Indians will look to get back in the win column when they welcome the Buffalo Bisons to Victory Field on Monday. The three-game series kicks off at 7:05 p.m. with Chris Volstad (3-1, 3.60 ERA) set to start for the Tribe.