Columbus Clippers 2, Indianapolis Indians 0
It was a pitching duel tonight, as the Indianapolis Indians and Columbus Clippers battled it out at Victory Field. Indianapolis starter, Daniel Cabrera pitched a complete game, allowing just 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks, with 2 strikeouts — which sounds like a great outing, except that he was the losing pitcher. Columbus’ Jeanmar Gomez also pitched a complete game, but his 9 innings were a shut out, and he allowed the Indians only 2 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 7 batters, to earn the win.
Cabrera’s tough-luck loss put his record at 4-4, with a 4.35 ERA. He threw 97 pitches (69 strikes) in 9 innings. Cabrera zipped through the first two innings, striking out one, and allowing just one base runner, when 2B Cord Phelps worked the count full then took a walk in the 4th.
The 3rd inning began with the Clippers’ first hit, a rocket over CF Jose Tabata’s head and off the wall in center field by LF Tim Fedroff, for a triple. Cabrera struck out the next batter, former Indy Indian C Luke Carlin, but threw a wild pitch to 3B Gregorio Petit. The ball sailed all the way to the backstop, giving Fedroff plenty of time to race home. He slid across the plate well before Tribe C Jose Morales was able to reach the ball and throw it to Cabrera, who was covering the plate.
Cabrera retired the next four batters he faced. Then with one out in the 4th, he gave up a solo home run to RF Vinny Rottino, and the Clippers had a 2-0 lead.
That was all Cabrera would allow. He gave up one hit over the next three innings, and faced only the minimum number of batters. Petit led off the 6th with a single lined into right field, but he was erased when CF Ezequiel Carrera bounced into a 4-6-3 (2B Anderson Hernandez to SS Chase d’Arnaud to 1B Jeff Larish). Another double play erased another Clippers’ single in the 8th. Phelps began the frame with a single lined into right field. After a fly out, Carlin grounded to first, where Larish scooped up the ball, took two steps to touch the first base bag, then fired to second base. D’Arnaud, covering second, had to tag out Phelps as he slid into the bag, but the throw was well ahead of Phelps, making the tag easy, for a reverse-force double play.
The Clippers threatened in the top of the 9th. Petit and Carrera let off with a single up the middle and a bunt single. Once again, Cabrera was helped out by a double play. SS Jason Donald tried to bunt, but instead popped up. Cabrera and 3B Yamaico Navarro both raced in, but Cabrera got there first, making the catch near the third base line. Both Petit and Carrera were off and running, as they had been expecting a sacrifice bunt. Carrera was alert and got back to first in time, but Petit had gone about two thirds of the way to third base. Petit turned back, but was just strolling to second base, as Cabrera whirled to assess the base runners. Carrera was nearly back to first base, but Petit was just strolling along. Cabrera saw the play and started his throw just as Petit woke up to the situation. Petit scrambled back, but Cabrera’s throw was already waiting for him, and the Indians had a 1-6 double play. An intentional walk to Rottino and a ground out by 1B Matt LaPorta ended Cabrera’s night.
Meanwhile, Columbus’ Jeanmar Gomez was dominating the Tribe batters. He retired the first 10 batters he faced in order, including striking out the side in the bottom of the 1st, and striking out another in the 2nd. The Indians’ best chance at a rally came in the 4th innings. With one out, SS Chase d’Arnaud lined a single into left field. Moments later, Gomez picked d’Arnaud off first base and though he tried to stretch out a run-down, d’Arnaud was eventually tagged out (1-3-6-1-4). LF Starling Marte worked a walk, making Gomez throw 11 pitches in the process, and Navarro also walked, giving the Indians two base runners for the only time in the game. They did not get any further, though, as a strikeout ended the inning.
The Indians’ second hit came in the bottom of the 5th. DH Tony Sanchez grounded up the middle for a single. Carrying on as the Clippers did, Sanchez was erased when Larish bounced the first pitch he saw back to the mound. Gomez spun around and threw to second base, starting a 1-6-3 double play. That was all the Indians would do. Gomez set down the remaining 13 batters he faced, including two more strike outs, to finish the game.
The Indians’ loss and Clippers’ win puts the Clippers one game closer to the Indians in the International League Western Division in the standings. Fortunately for the Indians, that closes the gap to 10 games, with the Indians still well in first place. The third-place Toledo Mud Hens are 19.5 games behind the Indians. The Louisville Bats, who demolished the Gwinnett Braves by a score of 22 -1 tonight (6 runs in the 1st, 7 runs in the 2nd, 5 runs in the 8th, and 4 more runs scattered over 3 more innings), climbed to 23.5 games behind the Indians.
After the game, Daniel Cabrera was pleased with his outing, despite the loss. “Everything was working. I was throwing the ball low in the zone. They were hitting a lot of ground balls, and that was a big pitch today. This is going to be a big, big second half… I’m looking to finish the season strong.”
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: Well, only two to choose from, and both were singles. Both hitters, Chase d’Arnaud and Tony Sanchez, were out at second base. D’Arnaud was picked off and caught stealing, and Sanchez was out in a double play. Not really “gems”.
Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game: SS Chase d’Arnaud made a nice catch in the 4th inning of a ball off the bat of Matt LaPorta. LaPorta popped up into short left field, and d’Arnaud raced back, making the catch over his shoulder with his back to the infield. The best plays, though, were the three double plays, all of which erased a Clipper who had singled off Daniel Cabrera. The first double play, in the 6th inning, was fairly conventional, as Ezequiel Carrera bounced into a 4-6-3 twin killing, erasing Gregorio Petit. The second DP, in the 8th inning, was more unusual and more difficult — a reverse-force play, started by Jeff Larish taking Luke Carlin’s grounder at first, and completed when Chase d’Arnaud tagged out Cord Phelps at second. The third DP, even more unusual, started when Cabrera caught a popped-up bunt by Jason Donald, and threw to d’Arnaud to double Petit off second base.
The Indians and Clippers have two more games, on Saturday and Sunday, then the Indians will play a 4-game series with the Gwinnet Braves.