Clippers snap skid, beat Indians 5-4
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Columbus Clippers (50-46) snapped a five game losing streak and ruined the 18th Anniversary celebration of Victory Field with a 5-4 win over the IL West leading Indianapolis Indians (53-43).
A lot of things needed to go the Clippers way in Friday night’s win. They needed some offense after scoring just seven runs in the five losses. They also needed to drive in runs with runners in scoring position. Over the losing streak, the Clippers were just 3-for-32 with runners in scoring position.
While five runs and a 2-for-6 performance don’t cure those ills, they sure went a long way in that direction.
Giovanny Urshela drove in Tyler Holt in the first inning with a single off of Indianapolis starter Adam Wilk (7-8, 4.33) to give the Clippers an early 1-0 lead. Urshela was the designated hitter and was pinch-hit for by Matt Carson in his next at-bat. It was unclear if it was injury-related.
Tyler Holt doubled in Jose Ramirez from first to give the Clippers the lead again in the third, a lead they would not relinquish. Holt stole third and Jesus Aguilar hit a sacrifice fly to center to make it 3-1.
In the fifth, Tyler Holt drove in Jose Ramirez again, this time with a single to center. Jesus Aguilar doubled off the bottom of the wall in center and Holt raced around and scored standing from first.
Now all they needed to do was hold the lead.
After using five bullpen pitchers in the 17-2 nightcap on Thursday, Columbus needed a lot of innings from Gabriel Arias (3-2, 4.64) and he delivered with 7.2 innings. He gave up three runs on the night on 11 hits and a pair of walks with just one strikeout, pitching himself in and out of trouble most of the night.
The only time he set down the Indians in order came in the seventh. He gave up a run in the first and pair of runs in eighth, but sandwiched shutout baseball around those two innings. Tony Sanchez tied the game in the bottom of the first with a ground-rule double to left-center.
Tony Sanchez led the fourth off with his second double of the game, but a soft liner snagged by Jose Ramirez caught Sanchez off-guard and he was doubled off second.
Arias walked Blake Davis and Dean Anna to open the fifth, but Tyler Holt provided the flashy glove, making a diving catch in center to take away extra bases from Chase d’Arnaud. The next batter, Robert Andino, rocketed one to the right-centerfield alley that Holt ran down full-speed to take another extra-base hit away.
Tony Sanchez doubled for the third time with one out in the sixth, but was left stranded after a pair of groundouts by Mel Rojas and Matt Curry.
Fatigue came into play in the eighth. With one out, Arias gave up consecutive singles to Chris McGuiness, Brent Morel and Tony Sanchez to load the bases. After a visit from pitching coach Tony Arnold, Arias gave up a fourth hit to Mel Rojas.
Chris Tremie went to his bullpen and called Benny Suarez. Suarez was added to the team just before game time. He gave up a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3, but got Blake Davis to pop out to end the inning.
Suarez, making his second appearance since giving up seven runs in 1.1 innings in the 18-9 loss to Charlotte on May 29 (his only other appearance with the Clippers this season), was sent back out for the ninth.
He walked Dean Anna and gave up a single to Chase d’Arnaud to open the ninth. Robert Andino grounded out to score Anna from third.
This led to another thing the Clippers were sorely in need of: good fortune. J.C. Ramirez replaced Suarez and gave up a single to center. d’Arnaud, known for his speed, was breaking back to second on the hit, and was forced to hold at third.
After a seven-pitch battle, Ramirez coaxed groundball off the bat of Brent Morel that Audy Ciriaco fielded at short. He flipped to Jose Ramirez at second who turned a fired to first to complete the game-ending double play and preserve the win. For Ramirez, this was his first save as a Columbus Clipper, second save this season (one with Akron) and the ninth minor league save of his career.
The Clippers and Indians continue with another doubleheader on Saturday night. Righty Kyle Davies (4-7, 3.89) starts the first game. No starter has been announced by the Clippers for the second game. Indianapolis has not announced a starter for either game.
Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.