Ciriaco pushes Clippers past Mud Hens, 5-1
Columbus led from wire-to-wire in Sunday's victory over Toledo.
COLUMBUS, OH – Audy Ciriaco hit a RBI single in the first that gave the Columbus Clippers (78-65) the lead and then a three-run homer in the seventh that put it out of reach in a 5-1 victory over the Toledo Mud Hens (69-73) on Sunday night in front of 9,894 at Huntington Park.
Francisco Lindor led off the first for the Clippers with his fifth homer as a Clipper and his 11th of the year overall. Later in the inning, with two on and one out, Ciriaco came through with a single to left that scored Ryan Raburn and gave the Clippers the early 2-0 lead.
“He (Ciriaco) has been extremely valuable,” Clippers manager Chris Tremie said. “He came into the year not having a starting role necessarily; kind of a utility player off the bench. He just kept putting himself in the lineup with his bat and the way he played and the way he carried himself. He’s been a big, big part of this club.”
The Clippers would continue to put the pressure on Mud Hens starter Mike Belfiore (5-7, 3.25), getting base runners in every inning other than the fourth, but he was able to keep them contained after the first.
“It was kind of Earl Weaver baseball tonight; pitching, defense and a three-run homer,” Tremie said.
With Toledo reliever Melvin Mercedes on the mound for his second inning, Columbus led off the seventh with a pair of singles Jesus Aguilar and James Ramsey setting up Ciriaco’s 15th homer of the year, a lined shot over the left field wall.
“I was just being aggressive in the strike zone,” Ciriaco said. “Thank God I got a couple of pitches to hit. They weren’t even good pitches; they were out of the strike zone. Like I said, thank God I was able to put a good swing on them.”
Toru Murata (5-3, 5.38) started for the Clippers on short rest and only pitched five innings on 71 pitches. But he held Toledo to just one run on two hits and two walks and struck out three. He last pitched on Wednesday at Toledo.
Daniel Fields led off the third inning with his 6th homer of the year.
The Clippers used four relievers after Murata left the game, each pitched an inning. Adam Miller and Shawn Armstrong pitched one-two-three innings in the sixth and seventh. Miller struck out two and Armstrong struck out one.
Mark Lowe and J.C. Ramirez also pitched the minimum, but both gave up a hit and had their runners erased on some nice defense.
Daniel Fields hit a one-out base hit in the eighth off Lowe, Luke Carlin gunned him down on a steal attempt.
Tyler Collins singled with one out in the ninth off Ramirez, but was gunned down by James Ramsey when he ventured too far off of first on a fly out by Ben Guez to end the game.
“That bullpen is going to be big for us in the playoffs,” Tremie said. “They’re going to play a huge role in what we do. It’s good to see them all throw the ball well tonight.”
The Clippers and the Mud Hens meet for the regular season finale at 3:05 PM on Monday at Huntington Park.
The Clippers added RHP Enosil Tejada, RHP Adam Miller and OF Ryan Raburn to the roster prior to the game. RHP Zach McAllister was recalled by Cleveland to take the spot of RHP Josh Tomlin, who went on paternity leave.
Tejada made 44 appearances with Akron, going 4-2 with a 3.23 ERA over 55.2 innings. He gave up seven runs in an inning in his last appearance with the RubberDucks on Friday night, but prior to that, he had not given up a run his previous 12 appearances covering 11.2 innings.
Miller pitched in 28 games with Akron and went 1-2 over 41.1 innings, he had a 5.44 ERA. He is 1-0 with a 3.46 over 13 innings in 11 appearances since giving up five runs in an inning on July 28.
He relieved Murata in the sixth inning to make his Clippers debut and his first appearance at the Triple-A level since 2012 and his first appearance at this level with the Cleveland organization since 2008.
Raburn continues his rehab assignment with the Clippers after playing three games with Akron while Columbus was in Indianapolis. With the RubberDucks, he went 5-for-11 with four runs batted in, two runs scored and a walk. He was 1-for-14 in his first rehab stint with Columbus (August 23-25) and hit .191 with 5 homers and 32 RBI in 70 games with Cleveland this season.
The Clippers will send LHP Nick Moronde to the mound for the finale on Monday. Moronde will be making his debut in the International League after spending his professional career with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Moronde was 0-2 with a 12.38 ERA in two starts with Akron, lasting four innings in each start. He made three starts with Mahoning Valley and went 0-0 with a 1.00 ERA in nine innings.
Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.