Clippers pound out 9-4 win over Tides
COLUMBUS—Like the game itself, the Clippers’ bats took a little while to get started Friday night, but when they did, it resulted in another Columbus victory.
The Clippers won for the sixth time in seven tries, defeating the Norfolk Tides, 9-4. Heavy rain and strong winds delayed the game’s start time of 7:05 p.m. by an hour. With the win, Columbus took the four-game series, 3-1, in front of 7,227 fans at Huntington Park.
While Columbus’ home diamond is usually known for its display of home runs and extra-base hits off the walls, the Clippers used some small-ball to take the lead.
Jason Goedert and catcher Luke Carlin opened the bottom of the fifth inning with back-to-back singles. Shortstop Gregorio Petit then bunted them over, bring up center fielder Ezequiel Carrera with one out. Carrera, with Goedert running on the pitch, bunted down the first-base line, scoring the Clippers’ left fielder to put Columbus up, 2-1.
Columbus did have its fair share of power shots, too. Most of them came directly after the Clippers’ well-executed bunts in the fifth.
Following Carrera’s suicide squeeze, Cord Phelps took a Jason Berken fastball out of the park and onto Nationwide Boulevard. The three-run homer was the Clippers’ second baseman’s ninth shot of the season.
“That at bat was big. It really separated us,” Columbus manager Mike Sarbaugh. “It was a good team effort and a big win for us.”
Matt LaPorta and Russ Canzler got in on the action in the fifth as well. The Clippers’ designated hitter doubled into the left fielder corner, and Canzler brought both of them home. The first baseman, who has recorded a hit in five-straight games, smashed a line drive that flew over the left-field wall and into the bleachers.
Columbus scored six runs on six hits—including two homers and a double—to take control of the game in the fifth.
It took a hit to the deepest part of the ballpark to get the Clippers on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Canzler doubled to the warning track in front of the 405-foot sign in left-center field. Left fielder Jason Donald, who started off the inning with a walk, scored easily on Canzler’s extra-base hit. Donald added a two-run single in the sixth.
Norfolk’s bats were hot early, as the Tides recorded seven hits through four innings, but the Columbus defense helped starter Jeanmar Gomez get out of trouble with minimal damage done.
Making his first start of the season with the Clippers, the right-hander allowed a run in the top of the first inning after giving up an infield single and a line drive hit to right field. Four hits and three frames later, though, Norfolk’s run total remained at one.
The top of the third started with back-to-back singles from right fielder Lew Ford and center fielder Nate McLouth. A six-four-three double play and a groundout to short ended the Tides’ scoring threat. In the fourth, Norfolk had runners on first-and-third base with one out, and for the second-straight inning, the Clippers defense came up with a much-needed double play.
Gomez, who went 4-7 with 5.18 ERA in 13 starts with Cleveland, lasted seven innings and allowed only one run on 10 hits.
“When (Gomez) did get into trouble he was able to get some groundballs and double plays to get himself out of it. He had seven-solid innings,” Sarbaugh said.
Norfolk added three runs in the eighth, two of which came on a triple by catcher Caleb Joseph. Carrera attempted to make a diving catch on the play, but the ball got under his outstretching arms and rolled to the warning track in center field.
Columbus will begin a two-game home set against Toledo before facing the Mud Hens in a four-game series on the road. First pitch Saturday night is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.