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Clippers squander Salazar’s 11-strikeout outing

Bulls roll over Clippers despite strong start from Salazar

Clippers squander Salazar’s 11-strikeout outing
July 28, 2013
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COLUMBUS - Columbus right-hander Danny Salazar fanned 11 batters Sunday but offensive struggles lead to the Clippers demise as they fell 4-1 in a disappointing loss to the Durham Bulls Sunday.

Salazar looked out of this world. Over five innings, the pitcher did not allow a run and gave up just three hits in addition to his 11 punch outs.

He kept the Bulls off-balance for the majority of his outing, changing hitters’ eye levels with precise pitch location and blowing the opposition away with a mid-90’s heater.

The flamethrower collected at least one swing and miss in each of his five innings and even struck out the side in three separate frames in the second, third and fifth.

“He’s pretty good,” Columbus manager Chris Tremie said of Salazar. “His fastball was very good today, 93, 94 and then he reached back for 98. He had some good changeups. At times he was a little up in the zone but it’s hard to even say that with that kind of result.”

Tremie added that this performance definitely shows what Salazar is capable of doing each and every time he steps on the mound.

“He was pretty efficient,” Tremie said. “Eleven strikeouts in five innings on only 75 pitches is pretty impressive. He looks like he has a really bright future.”

Unfortunately for Columbus, Salazar was pulled after the fifth just as he has been all season. The Indians organization is still being cautious with his surgically repaired elbow after the right-hander endured Tommy John surgery in 2010.

Salazar’s only shaky inning came in the fourth when he faced a situation with runners on second and third with two outs. After retiring the first pair of hitters, Salazar surrendered a single to third baseman Ryan Roberts and a double to right fielder Leslie Anderson. Left fielder Jason Bourgeois punched a sharp grounder on the right side of the infield but first baseman Chun-Hsiu Chen made a spectacular diving stop on the ball and flipped it to Salazar at first for the putout.

Reliever Bryan Price took the loss after entering the game in the sixth and allowing two runs to score. A single and passed ball advanced center fielder Kevin Kiermaire to second and a botched grounder at short by Juan Diaz brought him home. Then with runners on first and second, Bourgeois singled to left fielder Ezequiel Carrera. First baseman Vince Belnome rounded third and narrowly beat out Carrera’s throw as he slid across the plate.

Columbus’ lone run came in the eighth inning when second baseman Luis Hernandez brought designated hitter Matt Carson home with by slapping an RBI single to right.

The Clipper batters were baffled all night long in large part to Durham starter Jake Odorizzi.

As impressive as Salazar was, the same could be said for the Bulls’  right-handed prospect who carried a no-hit bid into the seventh inning until Chen ripped a pitch into the left-center field alley for double.

“The kid threw the ball well,” Tremie said. “Obviously he had a no-hitter going into the seventh I believe and you know, he gave up a first-pitch fastball for a double to left-center field. He was probably up around his pitch count I imagine but he was still throwing the ball well.”

Coincidentally, the bottom of the seventh was also the only opportunity Columbus had to score on the right-hander. Catcher Omir Santos dropped a single into shallow center to put runners at the corners but shortstop Juan Diaz failed to advance the runners when he grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Overall, Odorizzi tossed seven shutout frames, allowing just two hits with seven strikeouts and two walks on his way to his eighth win of the season.

Durham tacked on two more runs in the eighth off of relief pitcher Preston Guilmet. An errant throw to home by Diaz sailed over Santos’  head for one run and several batters later, Bourgeois whipped an RBI base hit to right to put the Bulls up 4-1.

Closer Kirby Yates locked up the bottom of the ninth to secure the victory for Durham and earn his 14th save of the year.

The Clippers and Bulls will wrap up their series with a 7:05 p.m. contest Monday. Columbus right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-6, 3.97 ERA) will look to stay on pace with another solid start but Durham southpaw Mike Montgomery (5-4, 4.15 ERA) will attempt to prevent that from happening.

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