Clippers outduel RailRiders 5-1
Carrasco dazzles as Columbus wins seventh straight
COLUMBUS- If there were to be a motto for the Columbus Clippers' game against the Scranton/WB RailRiders Tuesday, it would be "bend but don't break."
Led by a dazzling performance by right-hander Carlos Carrasco(2-0, 1.36 ERA), the Columbus pitching staff allowed 11 hits to the RailRiders but only gave up one run and emerged with a 5-1 victory. The pitchers worked out of jams all night and stranded 15 opponents on base, holding them 3-15 with runners in scoring position.
"They minimized the damage with base runners on ,but they made pitches when they needed to, we made some defensive plays," manager Chris Tremie said. "That's the key. You don't want to have base runners on all the time but when you do, leaving them out there is big."
Carrasco out-dueled Scranton/WB's Chien-Ming Wang (2-4, 3.07 ERA) in a 5-1 win against the RailRiders to sweep the four-game series and extend the team's winning streak to seven games.
Both pitchers were equally impressive but Carrasco's stat line of six innings pitched, no runs, six hits, six strikeouts and two walks nudged Wang's 5 2/3 inning performance where he allowed one run on seven hits with four punch outs and two free passes.
Things have been clicking on all cylinders for the Clippers during their win streak. From the rotation to the defense, manager Chris Tremie said that his team is executing all facets of their game to a T.
"It's momentum," Tremie said. "We're playing well and we're having fun. Playing the game the right way. It's very indicative in the way we ran the bases in the inning where we got three runs in. You know, a base hit, scoring and getting the hitter/runner to second base as well and setting it up for the next guy who does the same thing. Doing little things like that are big."
Despite the win streak, the Clippers remain in second place in the International League West, four games behind the Indianapolis Indians. But if they maintain this high-level of play, first place could be within reach.
The Columbus bats started off a bit sluggish, wasting golden opportunities to score on Wang in the fourth and fifth innings but could not capitalize.
With one out in the fourth, third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall smashed a single up the middle and second basemanMatt Lawson followed by stroking a sharp grounder past the third baseman for the second-consecutive base hit. But center fielder Matt Carson flew out to left field for the second out and then shortstop Ryan Rohlinger trickled a weak grounder down the third base line to end the scoring threat.
After Wang retired the first two batters he faced in the fifth inning, designated hitter Tim Fedroff took a fastball the left field for an opposite field single to left and first baseman Chun-Hsiu Chen lined a groundball into left for his second hit of the game. Unfortunately for Columbus, right fielder Jeremy Hermida could not knock in the runners as he flew out to center.
Carrasco narrowly escaped the top of the sixth unscathed thanks to a heads-up defensive play by Carson and Lawson.
Left fielder Zoilo Almonte led off with a single to right and in the next at-bat, first baseman Dan Johnson walked. After two straight outs, left fielder Thomas Neil blooped a single to center. Rounding second base, Johnson was tagged out on a relay throw from Carson in center to Lawson at second for the final out. The tag came a moment before Almonte crossed the plate, negating the potential run.
"When things are going well and you're doing the right things on the field you benefit from stuff like that," Tremie said of the play. "But that's the way we've been playing lately. Both on the bases and by making plays."
The Clippers finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth.
Lawson was issued a walk to begin the inning and then stole second. Rohlinger followed by crushing an RBI double off the glove of center fielder Melky Mesa to put Columbus up 1-0.
Wang exited the game after giving up his only run on 102 pitches and was relieved by righty Chase Whitley.
Consecutive wild pitches by Whitley in the bottom of the seventh allowed the Clippers to tack on an insurance run. Chen doubled off the left field wall and quickly advanced to third on Whitley's first ball in the dirt. In the very next pitch, the right-hander again bounced a ball in front of catcher Bobby Wilson which rolled to the backstop and allowed Chen to cross the plate to make it 2-0 Clippers.
Left-hander Giovanni Soto surrendered a double to Wilson in the top of the eighth to reduce the lead to one but three more runs in the bottom half of the inning provided the Clippers with a comfortable cushion to secure the series sweep.
Closer Preston Guilmet made things interesting in the ninth, loading the bases and bringing the tying run to the plate but made right fielder Thomas Neal whiff on a fastball to end the game. The righty earned his 14th save of the season because he came into the game with two outs in the eight when it was still a one-run contest.
The victory puts another 'w' into the win column for the Clippers, making their record 28-18 while the RailRiders slump to 21-23
The Clippers will look to make it eight-in-a-row when they host the Syracuse Chiefs for a four game series starting on Thursday. Left-hander T.J. House (1-2, 5.22 ERA) is set to make the start for Columbus while Syracuse will counter with right-hander Ryan Perry (1-4, 7.68 ERA).