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Indians rough up Lugo, Mud Hens

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Indians rough up Lugo, Mud Hens

By RYAN AUTULLO BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Indianapolis continued to bully Ruddy Lugo, and no one on Toledo’s roster came to the defense of their starting pitcher.

Lugo, who has been excellent of late but has had all sorts of trouble with the Indians this year, lasted just four innings Saturday night in the Mud Hens’ 12-0 loss before a sellout crowd at Fifth Third Field. Lugo had not lost since before the All-Star break, but the law of averages swung toward Indianapolis, which continued a season-long trend of beating up on Lugo (12-9). Based solely on his outings against the Indians, Lugo has had an unproductive year. He entered the game with an 0-2 record and a 9.00 ERA against them, and both of those numbers have worsened. But since July 11, when he was shelled for seven runs against the Indians, Lugo had been dominant, posting a 6-0 record and a 1.65 ERA. He wasn’t that type of pitcher Saturday night. Neil Walker clubbed a two-run home run in the second inning to give Indianapolis (67-67) an early lead — and Walker was just getting started.

Lugo allowed back-to-back singles to begin the fourth and ultimately allowed three runs in the inning before being pulled with his team trailing 5-0.

“He had trouble getting loose tonight,” manager Larry Parrish said. “You could see it early in the ballgame, he just wasn’t himself tonight.” Brad Lincoln pitched six innings, allowing three hits, to up his record to 6-2. The Hens (68-66) have lost four of five games on the heels of an eight-game win streak that had many hoping for a playoff berth. With the Hens’ loss, Louisville clinched the International League West outright, leaving the wild card as the Hens’ only recourse for advancing to the postseason. With nine games remaining, the Hens trail four teams in the wildcard standings and are 7½ games back of Durham. A potential rally was cut short in the fifth when Jeff Frazier singled to start the inning but couldn’t return to first base in time after a hard liner to second by Wilkin Ramirez. “Tonight was a total butt-whopping,” Parrish said. Matt Rusch replaced Lugo to start the fifth and didn’t have much success either, allowing three-run homers to Walker in the fifth and to clean-up hitter Brian Myrow in the sixth. Walker, whose second homer of the night was crushed to right, had three hits and 5 RBI. He came to the plate with the bases loaded in the eighth and a chance to drive a grand slam to go along with his other multi-RBI homers. But instead of hitting his 15th homer of the year, Walker grounded to third on the first pitch he saw. Catcher Dane Sardinha pitched the ninth for Toledo, allowing a double. All eyes around the Detroit Tigers organization will be on Dontrelle Willis tonight as the two-time all-star makes a rehab start for Toledo in the series finale with the Indians. Willis lasted just two innings because of a hip injury on Aug. 19 with the Hens. He’s been on the disabled list with anxiety issues since June 30. Contact Ryan Autullo at: rautullo@theblade.com or 419-724-6160.

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