INDIANAPOLIS - Drew VerHagen struck out nine over seven innings of work to outduel Mitch Keller as the Mud Hens handed the Tribe a 7-6 defeat on the Fourth of July. Jason Martin cranked a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth, but it wasn't enough as Indy lost for the 19th time in its last 27 contests.
Toledo (38-47) used a four-run third inning - sparked by five consecutive two-out hits in an 11-pitch span - to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 lead. Dawel Lugo and Ronny Rodriguez smacked run-scoring doubles in the frame and Dustin Peterson capped the burst with an RBI single.
Three singles in the first inning gave Indianapolis (42-42) a 1-0 advantage. Erik Gonzalez and Gregory Polanco, both on major league rehab assignments, singled ahead of a Will Craig chopper through the right side. Kevin Kramer added a sacrifice fly to push the lead to two.
Peterson cut the visitors' deficit in half in the second with a one-out homer to right, his 10th of the season. After Toledo went in front in its half of the third, Cole Tucker opened the bottom of the third with his seventh Triple-A dinger, a 414-foot blast into the center field bushes to make it a 5-3 ballgame.
Two innings later, Christian Kelley joined the act with a leadoff home run of his own. Kelley's towering drive to left brought the Tribe within one.
The Mud Hens extended their lead back to two in the sixth with another two-out rally. Daz Cameron singled and swiped second base ahead of a two-out double by Kade Scivicque.
The score remained 6-4 until the ninth. Willi Castro gave Toledo a big insurance run with a single, and Martin's sixth long ball with Indy in the home half went for naught as the Tribe fell to 16-13 in one-run games.
Keller (L, 6-3) surrendered nine hits and six earned runs with six strikeouts in the loss. VerHagen (W, 4-2) yielded four earned runs on eight hits to earn the win.
The Indians and Mud Hens play a doubleheader on Friday night with the opener set for a 6:05 p.m. ET first pitch. The nightcap will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first contest. Eduardo Vera (4-6, 5.60) and James Marvel (Triple-A debut) are slated to start for the Tribe.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.