LEHIGH VALLEY – The Columbus Clippers (53-49) won their third straight game on Sunday afternoon as they took down the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (55-47) by a final score of 5-3. After falling behind 2-0, Columbus scored the next five runs and ultimately claimed victory.
Lehigh Valley first broke through for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. After getting a leadoff single, third baseman Pete Orr came in to score on an RBI double by shortstop Andres Blanco. Orr himself would get an RBI the next inning as he brought in designated hitter Hector Luna with a clutch single that put his team up 2-0.
After getting shut down for the first four innings, the Clippers roared back in the fifth to make it a whole new ball game. After right fielder Chad Huffman hit a leadoff double to right, he was brought in by catcher Luke Carlin’s RBI double that made it 2-1. Carlin then came home two batters later on an RBI single by center fielder Ezequiel Carrera. After five innings the game was tied at two.
The IronPigs never found a way to respond offensively in the game’s second half, and much of that is due to solid Columbus pitching. Clippers starter Corey Kluber (10-7, 3.65 ERA) went six innings and gave up just the two runs on five hits and a walk. He struck out seven on the way to victory.
His offense came through and got him credit for the win in the seventh inning. The Clippers first took a 3-2 lead on an RBI double by second baseman Jason Donald that brought in Carrera. Designated hitter Vinny Rottino was the next batter, and he continued his hot streak by blasting his eighth homer of the year to left. This two-run shot put Columbus on top 5-2, and this gave them just enough of a cushion to win.
Much of this damage came against the Lehigh Valley bullpen, as IronPigs starter Vincent Elarton (5-8, 5.45 ERA) pitched rather well in his six innings of work. He gave up two runs on six hits and a walk while striking out five. The loss went to reliever David Purcey.
The Clippers bullpen, meanwhile, was stellar in the final three innings. Reliever Juan Romero pitched a perfect seventh inning in his first appearance for Columbus, and Dan Wheeler also contributed a scoreless inning. The IronPigs made matters interesting in the ninth by scoring a run and loading the bases with one out, but reliever Frank Herrman forced IronPigs second baseman Kevin Frandsen to ground into a game-ending double play.
The road series in Lehigh Valley ends with a day game on Monday. First pitch will be at 11:35 a.m.