Hens Continue Playoff Push with Win at Indy
INDIANAPOLIS - The Toledo Mud Hens moved a half-game behind Indianapolis in the Wild Card race with a critical 4-2 victory over the Indians on Tuesday at Victory Field.
Winners in seven of their last nine, the Mud Hens (69-64) can capture sole possession of first place atop the Wild Card standings with a win over Indianapolis (70-64) tomorrow afternoon. Toledo still trails Columbus by 1.5 games in the West Division standings following the Clippers' 7-6 come-from-behind win versus Louisville.
Mike Gerber reached base three times in the series opener, going 2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk, an RBI and a run scored. Jason Krizan finished 1-for-4 with an RBI double and two runs scored, while International League Postseason All-Star Christin Stewart went 1-for-3 with a base hit, two walks and a run scored.
Matt Hall made his ninth start in a Toledo uniform and struck out five in four innings of work, receiving a no-decision after allowing six hits and a walk. The Hen Pen silenced the home crowd, as Tyler Alexander, Zac Reininger and Zac Houston combined to hurl five scoreless frames. Reininger claimed his fifth win of the campaign after fanning a pair in 1.1 innings, and Houston pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his eighth save of the year.
The Mud Hens applied significant pressure on the Indians in the early stages, loading the bases with one out in the top of the opening frame. Dawel Lugo found himself in scoring position when he reached on an infield single near the pitcher's mound, before advancing to second on a throwing error by Indianapolis starter J.T. Brubaker.
The line kept moving as Stewart and Chad Huffman picked up back-to-back walks to pack the bases for Krizan, who grounded into a fielder's choice to force Lugo out at the plate. Toledo's threat came to an end as Harold Castro flew out to deep left to retire the side.
Indianapolis struck first with a run in the bottom of the second stanza. Jacob Stallings grounded a base hit through the right side, and scored when Wyatt Mathisen hit a two-out double off the left-field wall to give the hosts a 1-0 advantage.
The Indians' lead proved to be short-lived as the Mud Hens knocked in a pair in the top of the fourth. Krizan reached on a throwing error by second baseman Kevin Kramer to lead off the inning, moving up to second on Castro's groundout to third. Gerber then evened the score with a double to deep right to drive in Krizan, and Pete Kozma eventually added a two-bagger of his own to plate Gerber and give Toledo a 2-1 edge.
Indianapolis countered with back-to-back hits to lead off the bottom of the same inning, putting two men in scoring position with nobody down. A sacrifice fly from Mathisen knocked in Kramer to even the score at 2-2, but the game remained deadlocked heading into the fifth.
The back-and-forth affair continued as the Mud Hens rattled off two more runs in their half of the eighth. Stewart reached base on a four-pitch walk, advanced to second on a Huffman groundout, and scored when Krizan sliced a double down the left-field line to stake the visitors to a 3-2 lead. After Gerber drew a two-out walk to put runners on first and second, Toledo doubled its advantage when Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounded a base hit through the right side to drive in Krizan.
The Mud Hens continue their seven-game road trip tomorrow afternoon at Indianapolis. First pitch from Victory Field is scheduled for 1:35 p.m.
#RoadToDetroit Report (rankings according to MLB.com 2018 Prospect Watch):
6. OF Christin Stewart: 1-for-3, single, two walks, run
8. OF Daz Cameron: DNP
9. RHP Kyle Funkhouser: DNP (DL)
14. IF Dawel Lugo: 1-for-5, single
16. OF Jacob Robson: 0-for-5
20. RHP Bryan Garcia: DNP (DL)
21. LHP Matt Hall: (ND) 4.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO
22. LHP Tyler Alexander: (ND) 2.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO
26. OF Mike Gerber: 2-for-3, two doubles, walk, RBI, run
- The International League on Tuesday announced Christin Stewart has been selected to the 2018 IL Postseason All-Star Team.
- The Mud Hens lead the IL with 45 saves, and eight different Toledo pitchers have recorded two or more saves this season.
- Tyler Alexander made his first career relief appearance at the Triple-A level, and third in his four-year professional career.
- Blaine Hardy is expected to make a rehab appearance for Toledo in Wednesday's game against Indianapolis.
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International League Stories from August 28, 2018
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