TOLEDO, Ohio (IndyIndians.com) - In an extra-inning battle full of missed opportunities the Indianapolis Indians and Toledo Mud Hens combined for 15 walks and 32 strikeouts over 14 innings with right fielder Brandon Boggs playing the hero with a clutch two-out run scoring double in the top of the 14th that brought home catcher Eric Fryer and gave the Tribe a 2-1 win on Monday night at Fifth Third Field.
In a contest that featured several missed opportunities on both sides it came down to Boggs, who came through with his 17th double of the season with two outs in the top of the 14th to bring home Fryer, who reached on a one-out base hit earlier in the frame. The base knock by Boggs put the Tribe ahead 2-1 and helped to end a four hour and 22 minute marathon contest that saw both teams leave double digit runners on base and go a combined 1-for-20 with runners in scoring position.
Way back in the third, the Indians took the first lead of the contest on the shoulders of the eventual hero in Boggs, who led off the frame with a base hit , stole second and came plateward on a clutch two-out base hit by LF Starling Marte. The RBI base hit would be one of two base knocks by Marte, who finished out the final three games of series with the Mud Hens with six hits, three runs and three RBI.
The only other score in regulation came on one swing of the bat in the bottom of the fifth as Mud Hens 3B Audy Ciriaco blasted his ninth home run of the season to left-center field to lead off the frame. Following Ciriaco's blast, both teams would have a multitude of opportunities to take over the lead, key strikeouts and double plays would prevent another run from scoring until the 14th.
Before they evened the score on Ciriaco's longball in the fifth, Toledo had a chance to get on the board in the bottom half of the third when Ciriaco lined a one out single, before the Mud Hens loaded the bases with back-to-back walks by RF Ben Guez and CF Andy Dirks. However, Tribe starter Jeff Locke (5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 7 BB, 9 SO), who battled his control all night long, was able to strikeout the next two batters to escape the threat unblemished.
Along with Locke who struck out nine and walked seven, Toledo starter Adam Wilk (7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 7 SO) also used the strikeout to escape a few control problems as he walked four and fanned seven Indians' batters in a seven-inning no-decision. This would, however, be a contest for the bullpen's which both turned in spectacular efforts as four Tribe relievers combined for eight strikeouts over nine innings of scoreless relief and three Mud Hens relievers combined to allow just a single score and strikeout eight over seven innings of work.
Perhaps the biggest relief effort of the night came from Tribe RHP Chris Leroux (4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 5 SO), who not only struck out five over four scoreless innings, but also escaped the biggest jam of the contest in the bottom of the sixth inning. Leroux entered the contest after the Mud Hens loaded the bases on a single by LF Jerad Head, double by 1B Danny Dorn and walk by C Bryan Holaday, and struck out the first batters he faced before inducing an inning ending forceout to escape the frame with no damage done.
Leroux then escaped another jam, this one of his own making in the following frame. After allowing a one-out single to Dirks and advancing him to third with back-to-back wild pitches, the righty reliever would strikeout DH John Lindsey and force an inning ending popout by Head.
Following Leroux's fantastic effort, fellow Indians' relievers Duke Welker (2.0 IP, 1 BB, 1 SO) and Tim Wood (2.0 IP, 2 SO) each would turn in two scoreless frames of work before RHP Jose Diaz (1.0 IP, 1 BB) finished off the victory. Wood would earn the win to improve to 5-4 on the season, while Diaz picked up his third save.
Toledo received equally excellent work from its relievers as RHP Collin Balester (3.0 IP, 1 H, 4 SO) struck out four over three innings of work before former Indians' closer Chris Bootcheck (2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 SO) provided two scoreless frames. Bootcheck would escape a major jam in the 12th as following a lead-off walk by C Tony Sanchez and infield base knock by 2B Anderson Hernandez, the veteran reliever would sandwich strikeouts around a wild pitch before finishing the threat by forcing a frame finishing pop out.
Toledo closer Luis Marte (2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO) would be pinned with the loss to fall to 0-1 on the season after surrendering the Tribe's 14th inning score.
With the win, the Indians (64-40) earn a 3-2 series victory over Toledo and will now return home for an eight-game homestand, beginning with a four-game series against the Pawtucket Red Sox that kicks off on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. LHP Justin Wilson is expected to start the series opener for the Tribe, while the Pawsox are scheduled to counter with RHP Zach Stewart, who was recently acquired by Boston from the Chicago White Sox as part of the Kevin Youkilis trade.