INDIANAPOLIS -- Starting pitcher Ian Snell struck out a Victory Field record 17 batters, including a record 13 in-a-row, while right fielder Garrett Jones provided the game-winning walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th as the Indianapolis Indians defeated the Toledo Mud Hens 2-1 in front of a crowd of 9,729 on Sunday afternoon at Victory Field.
With the win the Indians improve to 36-39 overall and 18-17 at home, while the loss drops the Mud Hens to 33-42 on the season and 17-24 on the road. The victory for Indianapolis gives them a 5-3 season series edge over Toledo and evens up their record at 3-3 against the Mud Hens at Victory Field this season.
Snell (7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 17 SO) walked the first batter he faced and then went on to strikeout 13 straight Toledo Mud Hens on the way to a career high 17 punchouts in just seven innings pitched. Though Snell did not figure in the final decision his 13 straight K's are three better than the Major League record held by Tom Seaver (4/22/1970), while his 17 strikeouts are one more than the previous Victory Field high of 16 accomplished by Steve Parris on April 28, 1998.
Snell's strikeout performance was also the largest in the International League this season, and with LHP Tom Gorzelanny's 12 punch out effort in the previous contest gave Tribe starters an IL best 29 strikeouts in just two games. Indianapolis reliever Juan Mateo (3.0 IP, 2 BB, 1 SO) replaced Snell and tossed a dominant performance of his own as the Tribe reliever turned in three hitless innings to come away with the win and improve to 4-4 on the season.
Though both Snell and Mateo dominated, the game was forced into extras, where in the 10th SS Brian Bixler began the Indians' eventual game-winning rally with a two-out single to left center. Following Bixler's base hit, the red hot Jeff Salazar reached on an infield single that moved Bixler to second and set the stage for Jones' walk-off base hit.
Salazar (3-for-4, 1 R) collected three base knocks for the third consecutive game to complete a dominating week (6/21-6/28) in which he batted .467 (14-for-30) with three home runs, four RBI and seven runs scored. Salazar along with Tribe 1B Brian Myrow (2-for-3, 1 RBI) turned in the game's only multi-hit performances, while Myrow also provided the Tribe's first run of the game, when he drove in Salazar with a fourth inning base hit.
The base knock by Myrow came off Mud Hens starter Brooks Brown (7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO), who allowed just one run and struck out four, but was out duelled by Snell and ended up not figuring in the final decision. In relief of Brown, Toledo relievers Scot Drucker (1.0 IP, 1 BB, 1 SO) and Ryan Perry (1.0 IP) combined for two hitless innings of relief, but former Indianapolis Indians RHP Ron Chiavacci (0.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER) allowed the Tribe's three straight two-out hits in the tenth to take the loss and drop to 1-5 on the season.
Toledo plated their lone run in the fifth inning, when SS Brent Dlugach broke up the no-hitter and Snell's 13 consecutive K's with a single to center field. Dlugach then moved to third on a single by LF Jeff Frazier and error by the Indians, before scoring the Mud Hens' lone run, when 3B Mike Hessman beat out a double play attempt by the Tribe.
Indianapolis continues their four-game series against West Division foe Toledo on Monday at 7:00 p.m. RHP Daniel McCutchen is scheduled to start for Indianapolis, while RHP Eddie Bonine is expected to get the nod for the Mud Hens.
The contest will be carried by WXLW-950 AM and www.IndyIndians.com with Howard Kellman and Scott McCauley. The pre-game show begins at 6:40 p.m.
Post-game quotes -- RHP Ian Snell
(on his 17 strikeout performance)
"I just worked off my fastball. The guys made me feel welcome here. It was just fun to see this relaxed and fun atmosphere. Nothing against the guys up there you know they work hard they do everything. I just have a lot of thoughts going through my head and I just wanted to get my thoughts together and it felt great. I felt awesome today and they made me feel awesome."
(on achieving 17 K's at Victory Field after tossing a no-hitter there in 2005)
"It's just the fans are electric here. You can tell, even though they don't say much or cheer much they pay attention to the game. It was just fun pitching in front of them again."
(on recording 13 straight strikeouts)
"I owe a lot of credit to (Catcher Erik) Kratz. He did a tremendous job of setting up you know he didn't set up too early where they can see where I'm going. He mixed the pitches real well and when I left a pitch up he reminded me you know your elbow is hanging over or your head is bouncing over. A lot of it had to do with him and I have to give a lot of the credit to him because he did a great job of game-calling."
(on returning to Indianapolis)
"These guys welcomed me with open arms and it's just felt good to see fresh faces. And this crowd, I loved pitching here when I was here in 2005 so it was a great feeling for me and I just enjoyed it."
(on how his performance felt)
"I haven't felt like that all year. It's just amazing you know. These guys are great and these guys are a bunch of goofballs and it makes you want to be here and pitch well here."