Figueroa Leads Indians Past Toledo 9-1August 29, 2011 - International League (IL) Indianapolis Indians
With the win, Indianapolis improves to 72-66 this year, while the loss drops Toledo's record to 65-73 The victory also gives the Indians a 2-0 lead in the four-game road/home series, as well as a 10-9 advantage in the overall season series with the Mud Hens.
Figueroa (9.0 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO) recorded the team's first nine-inning complete game since Charlie Morton on June 24, 2010 against Durham, while setting a new team single-game season-high in 2011 with ten punchouts. Figueroa improved his record to 1-1 on the year in his second start with the Tribe since being signed as a minor league free agent on August 23.
Also impressive for Figueroa was the fact that he did not yield a single free pass in his outing, while firing 92 of his 123 pitches on the evening for strikes.
It was a pitcher's duel until the eighth inning, when Indianapolis opened the game wide open with a five-run rally. SS Pedro Ciriaco began it all with a single and then moved to second on 2B Jordy Mercer's base knock, before Ciriaco came plateward on LF John Bowker's run-scoring base knock to right.
Then after All-Star 1B Matt Hague was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Alvarez crushed a 2-0 pitch over the right-center field wall for his fifth roundtripper of the year, and second in as many nights. The grand slam was also the fourth mashed by an Indians player this season after hitting a total of three in 2010.
The Tribe would tally two more runs in the ninth to increase the margin to eight thanks once again to Bowker. Ciriaco started with a base knock to right and advanced to second on Mercer's single, before both moved a base due to a wild pitch and subsequently scored on Bowker's two-run base hit to center.
Indianapolis opened the game's scoring in the opening frame with a single score. Ciriaco led off the contest with a single and moved to second on a groundout, prior to an RBI double from Hague that gave the Indians the early 1-0 advantage.
The Tribe then doubled the margin to two in the third frame thanks to the longball. 2B Jordy Mercer began the inning by launching his fourth home run of the year over the left field wall to make it 2-0. It was the 28th home run of the year overall for Mercer between Double-A Altoona and Indianapolis, while it was his first since July 10.
Toledo however, cut their deficit in half in the bottom half of the frame. LF Andy Dirks started by reaching on an infield single and then stole second, before coming across when DH Timo Perez laced an RBI base knock to center to make it 2-1.
Ciriaco (3-for-5, 3 R) and Mercer (3-for-5, 3 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI) each collected three hits in the contest, while Bowker (2-for-5, 1 R, 3 RBI) also recorded a multi-hit effort for the Tribe. Toledo CF Jeff Salazar (2-for-4) was the lone Mud Hens hitter to accumulate two hits in the game.
Toledo starter Fu-Te Ni (7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 SO) was pinned with the loss to fall to 5-3 on the year despite giving up just two earned runs on four hits, in addition to eight strikeouts in his seven solid frames.
Indianapolis and Toledo now travel to Indianapolis for the final two of their four-game road/home series on Tuesday evening at 7:05 p.m. LHP Jeff Locke is expected get the start for the Indians, while LHP Ramon Garcia is scheduled to take the mound for the Mud Hens.
The contest will be carried on WNDE 1260 AM, WNDE.com and via iheartradio, a mobile application for iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones, while also being broadcast live on Comcast and Bright House Networks digital channel 81 with Howard Kellman and Scott McCauley on the call. The pre-game show begins at 6:45 p.m.
Post-game quotes -- RHP Nelson Figueroa
(on his complete game performance) "I feel great. I had a really hard year this year. It just puts it all into perspective. I've been playing a long time and there's still that excitement, that little kid glow in my eyes tonight of having a chance to win in a close game. We broke it open there in the eighth but I wanted to help and do my part. Dean [Indians manager Dean Treanor] kept looking at me. He didn't ask any questions, he just kept looking at me. He would look at me and I would give him the look right back and he knew that I was not going to give up the ball very easily."
(on the key to throwing so many strikes) "Just getting ahead. A lot of these guys aren't familiar with what I can do. My advantage was to get ahead early and keep mixing it up. I never let them get comfortable in the box and get them to reach and put balls in play and never square anything up."
(on 3B Pedro Alvarez's home run) "It was an eruption inside the dugout and inside of me also. I was so thrilled that I could kind of take a deep breath and know that now my job is to get those final six outs and capitalize on what the hitters had done. The hitters had battled their butts off tonight and got two early runs. You got to tip your hat to [Toledo starter Fu-Te] Ni. He pitched excellent and you take advantage of a bases loaded situation. Pedro didn't miss it and when he doesn't miss it's pretty impressive to watch."
International League Stories from August 29, 2011
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