Columbus Clippers 11, Indianapolis Indians 5
In the first two games of this series, the Indians and the Clippers traded wins and big-run games. The Clippers won the first game 10-6, and the Indians won last night 10-5. The Clippers won the series with a win today at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio, with another big-run game, 11-5.
Former Indy Indian, C Luke Carlin, gave the Clippers a big edge with a grand slam in the 5th inning. Columbus also took advantage of 2 errors by the Indians and a total of 8 walks given up by the Indians’ pitchers, as they scored in all but two of their turns at bat. Starter Rick VandenHurk suffered his first loss of the season for the Tribe, as he gave up 7 runs (5 earned runs) on 5 hits and 5 walks in 5 innings.
This time, the Indians did not get onto the scoreboard first. The Clippers got started in the bottom of the 1st, with a walk to CF Ezequiel Carrera from VandenHurk. Carrera stole second base. With two outs, 1B Vinny Rottino grounded to third base, where Tribe 3B Brian Friday could not make the play. The ball got past him, allowing Carrera to score an unearned run, from second base. The Clippers added another run in the 2nd inning. Back-to-back singles to DH Chad Huffman and Carlin plus a walk to RF Trevor Crowe loaded the bases with Clippers. Carrera’s sacrifice fly drove in Huffman for a 2-0 lead.
The Tribe put one runner on base in each of the first three innings. SS Chase d’Arnaud walked in the 1st and Friday singled in the 3rd, but both were left on base. 2B Anderson Hernandez lined a single into left field in the 2nd inning, but he was erased when C Jose Morales bounced into a double play.
The Indians’ bats got going in the 4th. With one out, DH Jeff Clement rocketed a solo home run over the wall in right center field, cutting the Clippers’ lead in half. RF Brandon Boggs followed the home run with a double down the left field line. Boggs moved to third on Hernandez’s single into right field, and he scored on Morales’ sacrifice fly, tying the score at 2-2.
VandenHurk got through the 3rd and 4th innings without allowing a run to score, though he walked 3 batters in those two innings, and two base runners stole second base. Then disaster struck in the bottom of the 5th. 2B Cord Phelps led off with a single lined into center field. Rottino was hit by a pitch. 3B Russ Canzler brought in Phelps with his single down the left field line, and the Clippers again had the lead, 3-2. The Clippers would never give up that lead. LF Tim Fedroff grounded toward second base, where 2B Hernandez made a fielding error, loading the bases with Clippers again. That brought up Luke Carlin, who lifted a long fly over the right field wall, to give Columbus a 7-2 lead. That was all for VandenHurk. He had thrown 98 pitches (58 strikes) in his 5 innings, and struck out 6 batters, despite the 7 runs.
Hernandez tried to make up for his error by driving in a run in the top of the 6th. Clement led off with a single and Boggs doubled, giving the Indians two runners in scoring position. Hernandez grounded to short, allowing Clement to score — 7-3 lead for the Clippers.
Kris Johnson came into the game to relieve VandenHurk in the top of the 6th. Johnson got one quick strikeout, then he too got into trouble. Phelps lined a single off the diving Hernandez’s glove and into center field. Phelps stole second, and a wild pitch moved him to second base. Rottino was intentionally walked, giving the Clippers runners on the corners. Canzler doubled into right field, plating Phelps. Moments later, Huffman also double, driving in both Rottino and Canzler, for a 10-3 lead.
Duke Welker pitched the 7th inning for the Tribe, and he gave up the Clippers’ final run. A walk to Carrera and a single by SS Jason Donald put two runners on, then a wild pitch moved both into scoring position. Welker walked Phelps, and again the Clippers had the bases loaded. Rottino grounded to third for what could have been an inning-ending double play. Friday threw to Hernandez to get the force out at second, but Hernandez could not get the ball to first base in time. Rottino was safe, and Carrera scored, lifting the Clippers lead to 11-3.
Tim Wood was the only Indians’ batter to record a 1-2-3 inning against the Clippers. He pitched a perfect bottom of the 8th, retiring the Clippers on two ground outs and a fly out.
The Indians picked up two more runs in the top of the 8th, though the game was pretty much out of reach by then. Starling Marte led off with a single up the middle, and he moved to second base on a ground out to first. Anderson Hernandez, who had already singled twice in the game, blasted a 2-run homer over the right field wall, cutting the Clippers’ lead to 11-5. The Indians went down in order in a quick top of the 9th, giving Columbus the win.
The Indians out-hit the Clippers 10-9, with Anderson Hernandez responsible for 3 of the Tribe hits and 3 RBI. Jeff Clement and Brandon Boggs had 2 hits each.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: For the second day in a row, Anderson Hernandez had 3 hits in the game. He singled in the 2nd, though was out in a double play. He singled again in the 4th, which moved Brandon Boggs to third. Boggs scored from third on a sacrifice fly. In the 6th, Hernandez picked up an RBI without a hit, on a grounder to short that allowed Jeff Clement to score. Then in the 8th, Hernandez hit his first home run of the season, and brought in Starling Marte as well, for 2 more RBI.
Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game: Tim Wood on the mound in the bottom of the 8th. Despite all the disaster that had taken place in the earlier innings, Wood calmly retired the Clippers in order, needing only 6 pitches (4 strikes).
Despite today’s loss, the Indians remain in first place in the International League Western Division. They hold a 56-34 record, which is still the best in the IL. The Clippers have climbed to 11 games behind the Indians, in second place with a 45-45 record. The Toledo Mud Hens are in third place, 18.5 games behind the Tribe, and the Louisville Bats are at the bottom of the division, 24.5 games behind the Tribe.
Starling Marte extended his hitting streak to 14 games with today’s single.
Brandon Boggs now has an 8-game hitting streak.
Eric Fryer has arrived from Pittsburgh. He got into the game today, when he took over behind the plate for Jose Morales in the 7th. Fryer got one plate appearance, flying out to right field in the 8th.
Stat leaders for players who have been with the Indians for more than a few days (Jose Tabata is hitting .304 in 5 games)
Best Batting Average: Jeff Clement .299; Starling Marte .290
Best OBP: Brandon Boggs .375; Jeff Clement and Gorkys Hernandez .364
Most Hits: Starling Marte 96; Jeff Clement 83
Most Doubles: Jeff Clement 25; Starling Marte 16; Brandon Boggs 15
Most Triples: Starling Marte 12; Brandon Boggs and Anderson Hernandez 4
Most Homers: Jeff Clement 13; Starling Marte 9
Most RBI: Starling Marte 52; Jeff Clement 43
Most Runs Scored: Starling Marte 55; Jeff Clement and Gorkys Hernandez 42
Most Stolen Bases: Chase d’Arnaud 23; Starling Marte 18
And some pitching stats:
Most Wins: Rick VandenHurk 8; Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson, and Jeff Locke 7
Most Innings Pitched: Rudy Owens 106; Justin Wilson 96.2
Best ERA: Doug Slaten 0.36; Tim Wood 2.06; for starters: Rudy Owens 2.89
Most Saves: Tim Wood 12; Doug Slaten 8
Most Hits Allowed: Rudy Owens 99; Jeff Locke 91
Most Earned Runs Allowed: Justin Wilson 37; Daniel Cabrera 36
Most Homers Allowed: Rudy Owens 12; Justin Wilson 8
Most Walks Allowed: Justin Wilson 45; Daniel Cabrera 26
Most Strikeouts: Justin Wilson 99; Jeff Locke 84