INDIANAPOLIS (IndyIndians.com) - Toledo third baseman Jeff Baisley's sacrifice fly to center field capped a three-run sixth inning and a second sac fly by first baseman Ryan Strieby put the Mud Hens ahead for good on Tuesday night as the visitors snuck past the Indianapolis Indians 4-3 at Victory Field.
Back-to-back-to-back singles started the sixth and put Toledo on the board as SS Argenis Diaz led off the inning with a single to center, advanced on CF Justin Henry's single to center and scored on RF Matt Young's single to center. Diaz crossed the plate as the throw from the outfield sailed over the head of C Tony Sanchez, allowing Henry and Young to advance to third and second, respectively.
After a ground out, Strieby singled to right field, driving in Henry to tie the game at 2-2 and put runners on the corners. Baisley then lifted a sac fly into center field, scoring the speedy Young from third and giving the Mud Hens a 3-2 lead.
Tribe starter Rudy Owens (6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) had been nearly untouchable through the first five innings of the game and had allowed just one hit before the Mud Hens figured him out in the sixth, handing the southpaw just his third loss of the season. It was only the third time Owens had allowed three or more earned runs in an outing this season.
Meanwhile, Toledo starter Jacob Turner (6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR) made just one mistake over six strong innings. As ranked by Baseball America, Turner is the No. 1 prospect in the Detroit Tigers organization. In support of the righty starter, RHPs Jose Ortega (2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 K) and Chris Bootcheck (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 K) closed out the game. Despite allowing a run, Indiana native and former Tribe closer Bootcheck picked up his 14th save of the season.
The Indians had taken an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. After a groundout, 3B Chase d'Arnaud worked to a full count before drawing a walk. With CF Starling Marte up to the plate, d'Arnaud -- who had stolen 19 bases in 19 attempts on the season -- took off for second, but Marte fouled to pitch off toward the Indianapolis dugout and d'Arnaud retreated back to first base.
d'Arnaud took off again with the next pitch, and appeared to have second base stolen easily, but Marte again swung at the offering -- this time launching it onto the seating berm beyond the left-center-field fence for a two-run home run. It was Marte's seventh home run of the season and his third extra-base hit in the past two days.
After Toledo took the lead in the sixth, it appeared the Indians had a chance to tie the game when LF Gorkys Hernandez lined a ball into the left-center-field gap, the deepest part of the ballpark, and past the glove of the diving Mud Hens left fielder. The ball rolled all the way to the wall and Hernandez rounded third in pursuit of an inside-the-park home run.
The relay throw by Toledo beat Hernandez to the plate. He slid wide of the tag, reaching for the plate with an outstretched hand, but was ruled to have not touched the plate and was called out when the catcher recovered and applied the tag.
The Mud Hens escaped that inning without further damage and then added what proved to be a vital insurance run in the top of the eighth inning. Young led off the frame with his fifth double of the season and advanced to third on a groundout before scoring the deciding run on Strieby's sac fly to center, at the time putting Toledo ahead 4-2.
That sac fly proved its worth in the bottom of the ninth when Indianapolis attempted a rally. RF Brandon Boggs led off the frame with a triple to that same gap in left-center gap that Hernandez had earlier visited. It was the fourth triple of the season for Boggs, who has hit safely in six of his past seven games.
After a strikeout, Boggs came home on an RBI groundout by 2B Anderson Hernandez, cutting the Toledo lead to 4-3. With two outs, d'Arnaud reached on an error by the Mud Hens third baseman, but the game ended on a groundout to the pitcher and d'Arnaud was stranded.
The Indians (47-31) will try to right the ship on Wednesday afternoon as they face Toledo (32-47) in a matinee, with the first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. LHP Justin Wilson (5-4, 3.46) is expected to toe the rubber for Indianapolis while the Mud Hens are expected to counter with RHP Thad Weber (4-6, 3.86).