Columbus Clippers drop doubleheader to Indianapolis Indians
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind – Pitching performances can be magnificent for long portions, but if a hurler lets just one inning get away from him, it can prove fatal.
That’s what Danny Salazar must be feeling after his outing on Thursday. His impressive game was undone when the Indianapolis Indians (52-42) scored two late runs, to take a seven-inning encounter with the Columbus Clippers (49-45) by a score of 1-0.
The first of ten straight meetings between the two teams began with a notable absence of offensive production.
Salazar and his opposite number Nick Kingham were dialed in from the very first pitch. Through the first two and a half innings, neither gave up as much as one base runner.
The hometown Indians were the first to get something going. Dean Anna drew a walk, and Chase d’Arnaud singled two put two runners on with two outs. Salazar, however, regained his earlier composure by forcing Robert Andino into a popout.
Columbus continued to struggle offensively, while the Indians threatened again in the fifth.
Tony Sanchez and Mel Rojas led off the inning with consecutive walks, before Blake Davis’ sacrifice bunt moved both runners ahead one base.
Finally, the Clippers showed signs of life in the sixth.
With two outs, Luke Carlin singled to center. Jose Ramirez also singled, before Tyler Holt walked to fill the bases.
Luckily for the road team, they had arguably their best batter in Jesus Aguilar coming up the plate to try and take a precious lead.
But, the big first baseman could only muster a swinging strikeout and the wasted opportunity would come back to haunt his team immediately.
Robert Andino drew a leadoff walk before Elliot Johnson moved him to third with a double. Salazar struck out Brent Morel to get the first out, but he intentionally walked Chris McGuiness to give the Indians their own bases-loaded opportunity.
Salazar struck out Tony Sanchez to put the pressure on Rojas, but it was the pitcher who let the occasion get to him. He walked Rojas, giving Indianapolis the first run of the game, and that’s all they would need.
Andy Oliver replaced Nick Kingham in the top of the final seventh inning, and he easily retired Giovanny Urshela, Johnson and Carlos Moncrief to give Indianapolis the win.
The loss was the Clippers fourth in-a-row, and they made it five late Thursday night when they lost the second game of the doubleheader, 14-2.
Columbus took the lead, 2-0, in the top of the first, but give up five runs in the third and seven runs in the sixth on their way to the loss. In total, Indianapolis had 18 hits on the day, compared to just seven for the Clippers.