Clippers offense stifled by Bisons, 5-1
COLUMBUS—A day after the Clippers set a Huntington Park record with 21 runs scored in a victory over Buffalo, Columbus scored just one in a loss Wednesday night.
The Bison defeated the Clippers, 5-1, winning the second game in a four-game series between the two clubs.
Columbus’ last two games could not have been much more unlike at the plate.
On Tuesday, Columbus had 19 hits—four homers, three doubles—and every player in the lineup crossed the plate at least once.
Wednesday, in front of 8,313 fans, the Clippers managed only six hits—two extra-basers—and only one player reached third base.
What was the reason for the huge difference between the two games?
The pitcher Buffalo had on the mound Wednesday night, according to Columbus manager Mike Sarbaugh.
Buffalo starter Jeurys Familia had little trouble mowing down Columbus batters while on the mound.
The right-hander retired 15 of the first 17 Clippers he faced. Using a sharp-breaking curveball and mid-90s fastball, Familia forced groundballs when needed and pitched to contact with his heater, often getting Columbus hitters swinging under the ball. Right fielder Chad Huffman was the lone Clipper to reach second base through the first five frames.
“When you’re throwing 95-96 mph with plus movement, that was big-league stuff (Familia) was putting up there tonight. He was working in some sliders, too,” Sarbaugh said.
No one, besides left fielder Russ Canzler, who went 2-for-4 with a solo homer—the Clippers’ lone run of the game in the bottom of the ninth inning—had it going for Columbus on offense.
Jared Goedert, who went 4-for-4 Tuesday with two homers and nine RBIs, went 1-for-4 Wednesday with a strikeout.
Ezequiel Carrera, who scored five times in Tuesday’s win, did not get past first base.
Sarbaugh said though that the story was not Columbus’ inability to hit, but more so Familia’s potent arsenal of pitches with control.
“He didn’t (walk many batters). It just shows you when he’s throwing strikes, he’s tough, and he was tonight,” Sarbaugh said of Familia.
Buffalo, for much of the game, didn’t have much success on offense, either.
Eric Berger, Familia’s counterpart, was no slouch. The Columbus left-hander had a quality start, allowing two runs on six hits in six innings. Berger had his out pitches working well, too, striking out eight Bison, a season high.
Ending his outing on a high note, Berger struck out the side in the top of the sixth inning, his final frame of the night.
“(Berger)’s done a nice job for us. He gave up six-solid frames, just two runs. That’s all we can ask, he kept us in the game,” Sarbaugh said.
But he made a few mistakes compared to a near-flawless Familia, and it cost the Clippers the game.
Facing Brad Emaus in the top of the first inning, Berger left a fastball over the middle of the plate, and Emaus made him pay. The Buffalo second baseman smoked the gift from Berger over the wall in right field, giving the Familia and the Bison all the run support they would need.
Buffalo wasn’t done scoring, though, as center fielder Matt Tuiasosopo scored on a line-drive single to left field in the top of the second inning.
The Clippers came close to tying the game in the bottom of the sixth after they knocked Familia out of the game.
With two outs and runners on first-and-second base, left fielder Russ Canzler drew a walk, facing left-hander Justin Hampson, loading the bases for Huffman.
Huffman, who needed just a single to possibly tie the game, struck out on a curveball that dropped out of the strike zone as it crossed the plate, ending a potential Columbus rally.
Buffalo had a few scoring chances in the top of the seventh inning, and they, unlike Columbus in the sixth, took advantage of them.
The Bisons scored three runs on four hits in the inning, and got some help from Clippers’ catcher Matt Pagnozzi, who’s throwing error to first base on an attempted double play allowed Buffalo left fielder Fred Lewis to score from second base.
Columbus and Buffalo will play the third game of a four-game set on Thursday at 7:05 p.m.