TOLEDO (IndyIndians.com) - Right-handed starter Phil Irwin, in just his third career Triple-A start, tossed six scoreless innings on Tuesday night as the Indianapolis Indians picked up a 5-0 shutout of the Toledo Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field.
It was the Tribe's 13th shutout win of the season, tying the Charlotte Knights for the International League lead.
Irwin (6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K) continued a stretch of impressive pitching at the Triple-A level and had now won back-to-back outings. In three starts, Irwin is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA and a 4.8:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Three of Irwin's six innings were perfect and he faced the minimum in four. In the fifth, CF Justin Henry reached on a two-out single but was promptly thrown out by Indians C Tony Sanchez on a stolen base attempt.
Following Irwin, RHP Duke Welker (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) allowed a hit and a walk in a scoreless seventh and LHP Jo-Jo Reyes (1.0 IP, 2 K) recorded two strikeouts in the eighth. Taking the mound in the ninth inning, struggling LHP Doug Slaten (1.0 IP, 1 K) gained back some confidence by picking up a strikeout, dialing up a groundout and inducing a flyout in a perfect frame.
Indianapolis provided Irwin and company with more than enough run support in the top of the first inning on back-to-back-to-back-to-back singles to lead off the game. After the Tribe had loaded the bases, 1B Matt Hague singled to center field to drive in SS Brock Holt and 2B Anderson Hernandez.
The Indians added insurance runs in the second, seventh, and ninth. In the second inning, Sanchez and LF Jeff Larish drew back-to-back walks to load the bases with no outs after 3B Yamaico Navarro had singled. Navarro then scored on a double play.
In the seventh inning, back-to-back-to-back singles scored another run with no outs. After Holt and Hernandez singled, CF Alex Presley followed suit to drive in Holt.
Presley then scored the final run of the game with two outs in the ninth. After having led off the frame with a single, Presley eventually scored on a single by RF Brandon Boggs.
In each of their run-scoring innings, the Tribe had at least the leadoff batter reach base. In the first, four Indians reached base before an out was recorded; in the second, three, in the seventh, three and in the ninth, two runners reached base before an out was recorded.
Toledo used six pitchers in the game, but it was starter Duane Below (4.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K) who took the loss, falling to 0-2 on the season. RHP Jose Ortega (2.0 IP, 1 H, 2 K) tossed the only perfect inning recorded by the Mud Hens, inducing two flyouts and a groundout in the top of the sixth.
LHP Jeff Locke (10-5, 2.56) is expected to start for the Indians in Wednesday's 6:30 p.m. game two. Toledo will likely counter with (4-3, 4.86).
The game will be carried on WNDE 1260 AM-WFBQ-HD2, WNDE.com and via iheartradio, a mobile application for iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones with Howard Kellman and Will Flemming on the call. The pre-game show begins at 6:10 p.m.
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