Clippers drop third straight at Indy
By Andrew Green/IndyIndians.com
Indians left fielder John Bowker accounted for each of the Tribe’s three early runs, while third baseman Brian Friday collected a team-high three hits and shortstop Pedro Ciriaco connected on a late three-run blast to power Indianapolis over the Columbus Clippers 7-3 on Sunday afternoon at Victory Field.
Indianapolis has now won four straight contests to accumulate a 15-23 mark on the year, while Columbus dropped to 25-12 with the loss. The Tribe’s victory also clinched at least a series victory over the Clippers, who had defeated the Indians in seven straight contests entering the series.
After a one hour and 35 minute rain delay at the outset of the game, both teams wasted little time to get on the scoreboard as Columbus jumped ahead with two runs in the top of the first before the Tribe answered with single tally in the bottom of the frame.
Columbus CF Ezequiel Carrera started the scoring when he singled on the second pitch of the game, moved to second when 3B Lonnie Chisenhall was hit by a pitch and came home on DH Chad Huffman’s RBI single to give the Clippers a 1-0 lead. Chisenhall would later score in the frame on a sacrifice fly to center by 2B Jason Kipnis to push the Columbus advantage to 2-0.
Indianapolis responded with a run in their half of the first despite collecting just one hit. Ciriaco reached on a fielding miscue, and went from first to third on CF Alex Presley’s single before coming home on an RBI groundout by Bowker to cut the deficit in half at 2-1.
The Tribe then evened the score in the fifth sparked by Friday, who doubled to left and was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from SS Chase d’Arnaud. Then following a pop out for the second out, Presley walked to set the stage for a clutch RBI single up the middle from Bowker to even the score at 2-2.
The Indians broke the game open in the eighth by tacking on four additional insurance runs, including Ciriaco’s three run home run. DH Andy Marte started the rally with a hit by a pitch and moved to second on Friday’s third base knock before scoring on SS Chase d’Arnaud’s RBI single up the chute to make it 4-2. Ciriaco then launched his second home run of the year two pitches later to left to put the issue no longer in doubt.
Columbus scored in the final frame but failed to complete a comeback for the second straight night despite a pair of two-out base knocks. Kipnis singled to center and then took second on defensive indifference before he was brought home on 1B Wes Hodges’ base hit up the middle.
LHP Rudy Owens (6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 SO) settled down after allowing two first inning runs and scattered just three hits the rest of the way while also walking none in his six innings of work but did not factor in the decision. The Indians’ bullpen followed Owens with some dominating performances as three relievers came one out short of being perfect in their three innings of work.
LHP Justin Thomas (1.0 IP, 1 SO) earned the win after striking out one in his spotless inning of relief, while RHP Evan Meek (1.0 IP, 1 SO), who is with Indianapolis on a Major League Rehab Assignment, picked up a hold for his perfect frame. RHP Cesar Valdez’s (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 SO) 19.1 inning scoreless streak spanning 12 appearances came to an end after he surrendered a run on back-to-back two out singles.
Columbus starter Zach McAllister (6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO) received a no-decision after allowing just two runs, one of which was earned, on four hits in addition to six punchouts in six innings pitched. Clippers’ reliever Zach Putnam (1.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 2-1 on the 2011 campaign after surrendering four earned runs on five hits in 1.2 frames.
The Indians complete their four-game series against Columbus on Monday at 11:05 a.m. for the third Baseball in Education Day of the year. LHP Brian Burres is scheduled to get the nod for the Tribe, while the Clippers are expected to counter with RHP Corey Kluber.