Aguilar, Clippers knock off Indians, 5-4
Columbus registered 12 hits in Friday's one-run win over Indianapolis.
COLUMBUS, OH – Jesus Aguilar clocked a two-run shot in the bottom of the seventh to send the Columbus Clippers (54-47) back into a first place tie with a 5-4 victory over the Indianapolis Indians (54-47) on Friday night at Huntington Park. The win marked the first time that the Clippers have defeated the Indians at Huntington Park this season (previously 0-5).
“With that homer, we (went) ahead,” Clippers first baseman Jesus Aguilar said. “That was the most important thing with the homer (was that) we got the win and now we gotta keep going.”
Tyler Cloyd (8-5, 4.10) started and was effective for much of the night. Indianapolis was never able to put together the big inning. Cloyd gave up runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh. The run in seventh was a game tying homer by Tony Sanchez that took a little bit of the shine off an otherwise tremendous performance by Cloyd.
“Location,” Clippers manager Chris Tremie said. “He keeps the ball down and mixes up his pitches and goes in and out, he’s been really good.”
Credit the Clippers defense with some big double plays. Second baseman Jose Ramirez, shortstop Justin Sellers and first baseman Aguilar connected on three double plays during the course of the game. The biggest one was a fourth inning twin killing hit into by Jose Tabata for the first and second out. Brent Morel singled and Andrew Lambo doubled him in from first. The double play saved the Clippers at least a run in the inning.
“(It) was a really nice job defensively to kind of change the game,” Tremie said. “I credit (Jose Ramirez, Justin Sellers and Jesus Aguilar). They really work hard in our ground ball drills.”
Jose Ramirez led off the first with a double and later scored the first of two for the Clippers in the first off Indianapolis starter Adam Wilk. Ramirez drove in the Clippers third run of the night in the third with a triple to the left-centerfield gap.
“Offensively and defensively (Ramirez) had a nice game,” Tremie said. “He always puts together good at-bats for us. When he’s on base, he makes things happen on the base. But defensively tonight, he was really good. He made all of the routine plays. The double plays were outstanding. (It was) a quality game.”
The seventh inning homer by Aguilar, a rocket down the line in left was hit off of Vin Mazzaro (3-3, 2.45). Mazzaro took the loss for the Indians.
“That was a line drive missile,” Tremie said. “It looked to be a hanging breaking ball. It was a big break for us and a big at-bat for (Aguilar). That ball was hit hard.”
Mark Lowe pitched the ninth and gave up a run on a pair of singles and notched his team high 14th save of the year. The run scored on the third double play that Indianapolis hit into for the night.
The Clippers and Indianapolis play for sole possession of first place on Saturday night at 7:05 PM at Huntington Park.
The Clippers played with a short bench after the injury to Elliot Johnson and C.C. Lee’s promotion to Cleveland. There were no replacements for either player available for Friday night’s game against Indianapolis.
INF Elliot Johnson took part in batting practice before Friday night’s game. He was placed on the disabled list before Thursday’s game. 3B Giovanny Urshela also took part in batting practice, but was held out of the lineup. Urshela hasn’t played since a first inning at-bat as the designated hitter on July 11.
Tyler Holt was in the lineup in left field on Friday night. In 45 previous games with the Clippers, he’s been in centerfield. In Akron, this season, he played all three outfield positions. He played 17 games in left, 10 games in right and four in center.
RHP Toru Murata (0-1, 4.55) starts Saturday night for the Clippers. Though he pitched 7.1 innings in his last start, the two runs he gave up were enough to tag him with the loss on July 9 against Pawtucket. Indianapolis will counter with RHP Nick Kingham (3-1, 1.62), who faced the Clippers in the first game of a doubleheader on July 10 and outdueled Danny Salazar en route to a 1-0 win.
Toledo defeated Louisville 6-0 on Friday. Toledo is in last place in the IL West, but by only 4.5 games. Louisville is three games back.
C.C. Lee recalled by Cleveland from Columbus.
Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.