Clippers turned back by Knights, 5-2
CHARLOTTE - For five and a half innings Monday night, the Clippers were on way to a win in their game against Charlotte, but a late rally propelled the Knights past Columbus in the series opener between the two clubs.
Columbus, after splitting a series with Charlotte at Huntington Park last week, fell to the Knights, 5-2, to begin a four-game series.
Columbus held a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, but that is where Clippers’ left-hander T.J McFarland’s great start came to an end. After holding the Knights scoreless through five frames, McFarland gave up two runs, and the Clippers’ lead, in his final inning of the game. McFarland almost escaped the inning without a blemish, but he gave up a two-out RBI double to Knights’ third baseman Connor Jackson and an RBI single to designated hitter Dallas McPherson.
The two-run sixth inning by Charlotte was the only poor inning McFarland had. The right-hander had only allowed three hits and no runs through the game’s first five innings. The solid start by McFarland was his first outing since a disastrous game on June 12 in which he allowed 10 runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings of work in a loss to Charlotte.
The Clippers, who scored runs in the fifth and sixth inning, failed to put runners across the plate after the Knights tied the game.
Columbus scored in the fifth on a homer by center fielder Ezequiel Carrera and in the sixth on a solo shot from first baseman Matt LaPorta. Carrera went 1-for-3, while LaPorta had singled in the top of the first. LaPorta, in three games with the Clippers since being sent down by Cleveland, is 3-for-11 with four strikeouts.
While the Clippers did not do anything at the plate following the sixth, the Knights got a lead and added to it in the seventh. Back-to-back doubles by Greg Olson and Tyler Krug plated three Charlotte runners. Right-hander Dan Wheeler was on the mound for Columbus when Charlotte took the lead. The three-earned runs given up by Wheeler end his streak of 8.1-scoreless innings.
Columbus and Charlotte will play game two of the series on Tuesday night at 7:15 p.m.