Up until the seventh inning, starter Corey Kluber
and the Columbus Clippers appeared as though they were going to cruise into a 5-2 victory.
“It (the game) started off a little awkward with the catcher interferences, the bobble at first base and a couple overturned calls, manager Chris Tremie
said. “We got off to a lead but then the game turned around in a hurry.”
Left fielder Cedric Hunter
said that having strange games like Sunday’s happens from time-to-time, but the team needs to keep moving forward.
“Sometimes it happens,” Hunter said. “We just got behind a couple guys and they (Indianapolis) capitalized. Hats off to them. It’s part of baseball.”
The Indians struck first in the top of the second inning when former Clipper and third baseman Jared Goedert
sent a solo shot right over the 400 sign in dead center.
The Clippers threatened in the bottom half of the third inning but were unable to take advantage of the opportunity as they stranded runners at second and third base.
Hunter led off with a soft grounder that pulled pitcher Andy Oliver
off the mound. After fielding the ball, Oliver tossed it to first baseman Matt Hague
, who bobbled it. Hunter was initially called out but the decision was overruled and Hague was charged with an error.
Third baseman Ryan Rohlinger
then reached base on a catcher’s interference and catcher Roberto Perez
followed with a sacrifice bunt towards the mound to advance the runners to second and third.
Oliver eliminated the threat by striking out center fielder Tim Fedroff
and second basemen Cord Phelps
to end the inning.
The Clippers came to life on both sides of the ball in the fourth.
After not recording a strike out through the first three frames, Kluber fanned the side on 16 pitches.
Hunter gave Columbus a 2-1 lead by driving a hard liner into right field to bring home Carson and Hermida.
For the second time in as many plate appearances, Rohlinger was awarded first base for catcher’s interference. At first, the play was called a force out with a run scoring, but that was overturned as well. The new ruling prompted Indians catcher Brian Jeroloman
to argue with the home plate umpire, leading to his ejection. He was replaced by Tony Sanchez
With the bases juiced again, catcher Roberto Perez hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Hernandez for the final run of the inning.
Indianapolis answered with another run to cut the lead to 3-2 in the top half of the fifth. Sanchez lined a base hit to center to start the inning. Second baseman Oscar Tejada then smacked a two-bagger of the left field wall to bring the Indians a run closer.
The Clippers came right back in the bottom have of the inning with a pair of runs to put them up 5-2.
Fresh off the disabled list, Phelps missed a homerun to straight away center by inches but turned the blast into a double. Hermida was then issued his second free pass of the game. First baseman Mike McDade
followed by sending a screaming base knock into right center to tack on another run. Hernandez then singled up the middle to score Hermida.
The fun ended there for Columbus as the Indians opened the flood gates in the top of the seventh.
Kluber began the inning by loading the bases. He walked in a run to make it 5-3 and then was taken out of the game. In his 6 1/3 innings of work, the righty allowed five earned runs on eight hits.
Reliever Jerry Gil
came on in relief but did not fair much better than his predecessor.
Center fielder Felix Pie
grounded a ball to first that was fielded cleanly by McDade, but his throw to home for the force out veered off to Perez’s left and allowed two runs to score and tie the game.
Back-to-back singles by Carroll and Geodert amassed four more runs and then a Sanchez double in the gap in right center brought home another pair to bring the score to 11-5. Designated hitter Brett Carroll
launched a solo homer to left field in the ninth to give his team an extra run.
Columbus mustered two more runs on a Phelps force out in the eight and a Hernandez solo shot to left in the ninth.
“We tried to battle back,” Hunter said. “We’re not going to give up. Sometimes we have to hang but we’re a good team. We’ll bounce back”
Kluber’s record fell to 1-1 with the defeat. Reliever Tim Alderson
earned his first win of the season for Indianapolis.
Despite the loss, Tremie said that the team could pull some positives out of the game.
“There were some good at bats today,” Tremie said. “A lot of guys swung the bat well. Cord Phelps being back on the field and having a pretty good game, McDade’s two hits and Hernandez’s homerun. Those were all strong points.”
With the defeat, the Clippers drop to 6-5 while the Indians improve to 7-5. They split the series at two games apiece.
The Clippers will play a three-game series against the Louisville Bats. Right-hander Joe Martinez
(0-1) will get the call for Columbus. Louisville’s starter is to be determined. The first pitch of game one is scheduled for 6:35p.m. on Monday.
Ethan can be contacted by email at email@example.com or you can follow him on Twitter @ethanjday