TOLEDO, Ohio - Toledo center fielder Avisail Garcia led off the first inning with a double, began the third with a solo home run, lined a single in the fifth and completed the cycle with a eighth inning triple as the Mud Hens (38-54) smashed an opponent season-high 17 hits and held off a ninth inning Indianapolis Indians (58-34) rally to earn a 9-7 victory on Sunday night at Fifth Third Field.
In just 13 games at the Triple-A level with Toledo this season, Avisail Garcia has proven that he is more than ready for the next level. With his cycle on Sunday night against the Tribe, the Mud Hens first since Ryan Raburn on May 27, 2007, Garcia is now batting an unreal .483 (28-for-58) with nine runs, 10 RBI, a .500 on-base percentage, and a massive .690 slugging percentage with the Mud Hens this season.
While the Indians and Mud Hens battled back and forth in the early frames, things got very interesting in the game’s final two innings as two teams combined for eight runs on 10 hits between the bottom of the eighth and the top of the ninth.
Tied 4-4 heading into the bottom of the eighth, International league West Division veteran Danny Dorn lined a one out single to begin a unbelievable streak of six straight hits for the Mud Hens. 2B Danny Worth and C Brad Davis followed Dorn’s base hit with singles of their own to load the bases for SS Argenis Diaz.
The former Indians’ infielder roped a base hit of his own to plate both Dorn and Worth and give the Mud Hens their first lead of night at 6-4. After Diaz, Garcia stepped to the plate and completed his cycle in impressive fashion by legging out a triple that scored both Davis and Diaz for what eventually proved to be key scores.
CF Kevin Russo finally capped Toledo’s base hit bonanza when he rolled a single to center to score Garcia and extend the Mud Hens advantage to what look to be a commanding 9-4 lead. The Indians, however, would not go away quietly as they plated three scores and brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the game’s final frame.
RF Andrew Lambo and DH Darren Ford began the Tribe’s ninth inning rally with back-to-back base hits, before 2B Ivan DeJesus brought then both home with a triple to deep center field. DeJesus also singled earlier in the contest to finish the night 2-for-4 and now in seven games in the month of July is batting an impressive .440 (11-for-25) with three doubles and four RBI.
DeJesus’ three-bagger not only cut the Mud Hens lead to 9-6, but also forced Toledo to go their closer, in veteran Jose Valverde. The long-time MLB late-inning man first allowed CF Alex Presley to bring home DeJesus with a sacrifice fly to center to make the Mud Hens lead just 9-7.
1B Matt Hague then ripped a clutch two-out double and 3B Jared Goedert drew a hit by pitch to amazingly bring the potential go-ahead run to the plate in the form of All-Star C Tony Sanchez. Valverde (1.0 IP, 1 H,), however, would induce a pop out from Sanchez to earn his second save and give the Mud Hens the victory.
Overshadowed by the late inning fireworks was another impressive night from Tribe All-Star shortstop Josh Harrison, who ripped two doubles in five at-bats to move into a tie with Toledo’s Nick Castellanos for the most doubles in the IL this season with 28. Amazingly, Harrison is tied with Castellanos for the league lead despite having played in 28 less games than the Mud Hens outfielder.
With the late frame offensive outbursts neither starter would figure in the final decision as Indians RHP Stolmy Pimentel (6.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO) surrendered four runs on nine hits over 6.0 innings, while Mud Hens LHP Kyle Lobstein (5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO) allowed four scores on seven hits in just 5.0 frames.
Mud Hens reliever Jose Ortega (1.2 IP, BB) earned the win to improve to 3-0 on the season after tossing 1.2 innings of hitless relief. On the other side Tribe reliever Brooks Brown (2.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 5-4 on the year after allowing five runs on eight hits in just 2.0 innings pitched.
After dropping only their fifth series of the season, Indianapolis will look to bounce back when they head to Columbus to begin a three-game series on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Brandon Cumpton (4-5, 3.71 ERA) is expected to make his return to the Indians’ rotation, while the Clippers are scheduled to send top prospect RHP Trevor Bauer (4-2, 4.04 ERA) to the mound.