Clippers knock off Bats on the road, 5-2
Francisco Lindor went 4-for-5 and scored 3 runs in Friday's win.
LOUISVILLE, KY – Francisco Lindor, Justin Sellers and Audy Ciriaco combined for eight of the Columbus Clippers (73-61) nine hits in a 5-2 win over the Louisville Bats (64-70) on Friday night at Louisville Slugger Field.
Lindor had four hits and scored three of the Clippers five runs. Justin Sellers and Audy Ciriaco both had two hits; Ciriaco’s on a pair of doubles. James Ramsey drove two runs for the Clippers who took both games in Louisville, and finished the season series with the Clippers taking 12 of 21.
The first two Clippers reached to lead off the game off of Louisville starter Dylan Axelrod (8-9, 4.01). Francisco Lindor singled and Justin Sellers walked. A batter later, Giovanny Urshela grounded into what looked like an inning ending double play, but the throw to first was off the mark and Lindor scored from second to make it a 1-0 game.
The same two batters reached again with one out in the third, this time both hit singles. Lindor went first to third on Sellers single and scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 Columbus.
Toru Murata (3-3, 5.52) held the Bats scoreless until the fourth inning. Steve Selsky led off with a double to center and advanced on a groundout. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Felix Perez to cut the lead to one.
Murata spread around four hits and four walks over 5.2 innings with a pair of strikeouts. He was lifted for Shaun Marcum, who would hold the bats scoreless over his 2.1 innings.
Meanwhile, the Clippers offense, dormant for the middle innings against Axelrod. He gave up the two runs, but struck out eight. He held the Clippers hitless after the third inning.
Once he was out of the game, the Clippers put the pressure on the Louisville relief staff in the eighth inning. Ryan Dennick entered and immediately gave up a single to Lindor. After Sellers sacrificed him to second, Ramsey drove him home with a double to left.
Curtis Partch took over and after getting Urshela to ground out, Audy Ciriaco lined a run-scoring double to center, which was cut off, but Ciriaco had enough speed to beat the throw to second and the Clippers led 4-1.
Columbus added a run in the ninth off of Chad Rogers. After the first two made outs, Luke Carlin worked a walk and went first to third on another single by Lindor. Sellers drove him in to make it 5-1.
The lead seemed safe when J.C. Ramirez was called on to pitch the ninth. But for a second straight day, the Bats rallied to bring the tying run to the plate. Neftali Soto, Ray Navarro and Tucker Barnhart loaded the bases with one out, all on singles. Hernan Iribarren drove home Louisville’s second run on sacrifice fly. Ramirez got pinch-hitter Bryan Anderson to fly out to preserve the win.
The Clippers return home to play the Indianapolis Indians on Saturday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.
The game was delayed by a 2:31 rain delay from the start with no stoppages. The teams played a 2:52 game, which made for a long night at the park. It turns out that the waiting is the hardest part.
RHP Toru Murata had 25.1 innings against Louisville in five games (four starts) with a 2.49 ERA. With the win, he is 2-0 against Louisville this season.
The four hits by Francisco Lindor on Friday night were a season high. It’s his second career four-hit game, with the first coming on May 3, 2013 when he was with Class-A Carolina.
The two game sweep marks the sixth consecutive road series win for the Clippers. The last time they lost a road series was the July 2-3 at Toledo, where they were swept.
Indianapolis defeated Toledo to stay six games behind Columbus (elimination number is five). The two begin three game series at Huntington Park on Saturday night. Toledo falls to seven games back (elimination number is four). Louisville is now nine games out (elimination number is two).
RHP Gabriel Arias (6-2, 4.13) is scheduled to start on Saturday for Columbus. Arias has struggled lately, failing to pitch into the fifth inning in each of last two starts (9.53 ERA). On Monday against Toledo, he gave up five runs (all earned) in 3.2 innings, running into to trouble in the fourth.
He made one start against Indianapolis, giving up three runs on 11 hits and two walks over seven innings with one strikeout. He earned the victory in that outing, which was on July 11 when the Clippers defeated the Indians 5-4.
He will be opposed by RHP Casey Sadler (9-4, 3.22). Sadler has spent most of the season with Indianapolis, but has five major league starts as well over three stints with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He has three starts this season against Columbus, going six inning in each one. He is 0-1 with a 4.00 ERA against the Clippers, his last being on July 20 when he gave up five runs (four in the first inning) in a 7-5 Columbus win.
Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.