It took awhile to get going, but the Mud Hens offense came alive when they needed and it propelled them to their third win in a row and clinched the series victory over the Indianapolis Indians. With a 9-5 win, Toledo holds firm atop the International League West division.
John Hicks was once again the engine behind the offensive effort, with three hits and an RBI that brought his season total up to 12. Omar Infante, Efren Navarro and Michael Almanzar each added two RBIs of their own to contribute to the team's offensive outburst.
William Cuevas got the start for Toledo, his second of the season. After pitching six scoreless in his first outing for the Mud Hens, Cuevas went five innings in this contest, allowing three runs and fanning two batters.
Steven Brault was his counterpart for Indianapolis, making his third appearance on the season. Allowing just one run in his prior start, Brault lasted six innings, giving up three runs and striking out five.
The Indians got on the board early again Cuevas, who pitched for the Detroit Tigers on Friday. After a walk to Gift Ngoepe, Indianapolis first baseman Jose Osuna dropped one in the right-centerfield gap for a double that scored Ngoepe and made it a 1-0 game.
After a start against the Mud Hens on April 6th in which he allowed two runs and five hits across four innings, Brault bounced back early on. With two consecutive flyouts to right field and a strikeout of Jim Adduci, the lefty was able to find his rhythm early.
Picking up right where they left off in the first, the Indians put men on first and second after a pair of infield singles. On back-to-back singles to right field from Ngoepe and Austin Meadows, Indianapolis took a 3-0 lead as the game proceeded into the bottom of the second.
John Hicks was able to keep his hot streak alive with a sharp single to left field, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. After groundouts by Efren Navarro and Michael Almanzar, the Toledo threat had subsided.
Cuevas was able to work out of another jam in the top of the third. After a strikeout to lead off the inning, Christopher Bostick ripped a single into right field and reached third on an error. Cuevas induced a popout a weak groundball back to the mound to hold the deficit at three.
The bottom of the lineup for Toledo made some noise in the bottom of the third as after Brendan Ryan worked a walk, left fielder David Lough was hit by a pitch to put two runners on with one out. Despite the hot start to the inning, the Mud Hens were unable to send them home.
A 1-2-3 inning set down the Indians in short order and the Mud Hens were able to capitalize. After yet another Hicks hit, Michael Almanzar clubbed a fly ball over the fence in left field for his first home run of the year and with that the score was 3-2.
A one-out single was no match for Cuevas who continued to roll in the top half of the fifth. Brendan Ryan responded by getting walked for the second time in the game and advanced to second on a fielder's choice, but was stranded to end the inning.
Angel Nesbitt took over for Toledo in the top of the sixth and picked up right where Cuevas had left off. A double play ball and a groundout to first got him through the frame in just 10 pitches.
Trailing since the first, the Mud Hens evened it back up with the help of Jim Adduci. With a triple hit to left field Adduci stretched his hitting streak to nine games and gave Toledo one of their biggest opportunities of the game. Efren Navarro took advantage, singling him in to tie it up at 3.
Nesbitt continued his strong outing in the top of the seventh with a 1-2-3 inning and the Hens were able to break it open in the bottom half. With Cody Dixon taking over for Brault, Alex Presley led off with a walk and Ryan reached base with his third free pass of the game. An error on Dixon scored Presley to put the Mud Hens up 4-3 and Omar Infante drove in the remaining two baserunners to make it 6-3.
Following a Matt Murton single it was 7-3 and Hicks added one of his own to make it 8-3. Following one more run via sac fly from Navarro, the Hens lead stood at 9-3.
Jason Rogers was able to answer back with a two-run home run off of new Hens reliever Edward Mujica, cutting the lead to 9-5 in the eighth.
Joe Jimenez came on for the ninth inning and struck out the side to close out the Indians in his fourth outing of the year.
The Mud Hens are off on Monday but return to action on Tuesday in Syracuse against the Chiefs. Buck Farmer will take the mound for Toledo. First pitch is at 6:35.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.