Columbus Clippers hold on for 3-1 win against Pawtucket Red Sox
PAWTUCKET, R.I. –– First impressions are so important in life and they’re pretty important in baseball too. Dusty Brown made a powerful first impression in his debut with the Columbus Clippers (62-56) on Tuesday afternoon. He hit two home runs, including one that broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh inning and sent the Clippers to a 3-1 victory over the Pawtucket Red Sox (64-54) in the finale at McCoy Stadium.
Brown homered to left centerfield in his second at-bat with the Clippers to give them a 1-0 lead off of Pawtucket starter Edwin Escobar. With the game tied in the seventh, he sent one over the wall in straight away left to put the Clippers on top for good, this time off of reliever Miguel Celestino (0-2, 5.11).
Jesus Aguilar added a home run, his team-leading 15th of the year, in the eighth off of Celestino.
The three solo-home runs bailed out an offense that struggled with runners on base. The Clippers began the fourth with four consecutive hits. Aguilar led off by smacking one off the wall in left, but was thrown out at second.Giovanny Urshela, Zach Walters and Audy Ciriaco also singled.
The Clippers had another scoring opportunity in the sixth after Giovanny Urshela drew a one out walk after a 12-pitch at-bat where he fouled off six pitches with two strikes before finally winning the battle.
Zach Walters doubled down the right field line, an opposite field shot, to put runners at second and third with one out. Both Audy Ciriaco and Carlos Moncrief struck out.
But the missed opportunities did not factor in the result. The Clippers got dominating pitching to keep the Paw Sox bats at bay led by starter Zach McAllister (6-0, 1.87 ERA).
It was the right-hander’s first start since being designated for assignment by Cleveland last Friday. He picked up right where he left off when he left the team a month ago to rejoin the Indians rotation.
McAllister retired the first ten hitters he saw before issuing a walk to Alex Hassan in the fourth. He stayed out of trouble until two outs in the fifth when Blake Swihart grounded a single to right for Pawtucket’s first hit. It was the only hit allowed by McAllister.
The Red Sox loaded the bases with a walk and an error on the pitcher. McAllister walked in the only Red Sox run to tie the game before Hassan grounded out to end the threat.
McAllister went seven innings on one hit and three walks. He allowed one unearned run and struck out six batters.
C.C. Lee pitched the ninth and allowed the only other hit. Bryce Brentz grounded into a double play and Deven Marrero stuck out looking to end the game. It was Lee’s third save of the year and second in as many appearances.
After a day off on Wednesday, the Clippers play at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM at PNC Field.
RHP Josh Tomlin (2-1, 2.25) was recalled by Cleveland before the game.
C Dusty Brown, signed to a minor league deal by Cleveland on Sunday, was assigned to the Clippers before the game. He started at catcher and batted ninth.
Brown’s home run in the third inning is his first home run since 2009 with Boston. He hasn’t homered at the Triple-A level since 2008 with Pawtucket. His two home runs ties a career high at the Triple-A level. He hit two home runs in each of 2007 and 2008 with Pawtucket. His overall career high in homers came in 2003 with Augusta of the South Atlantic League, who at the time was the Single-A affiliate of the Red Sox.
The last time the Clippers have lost a game in which RHP Zach McAllister was the starter was June 3, 2012 against Rochester. He is 9-0 in 11 starts over that stretch with a 2.11 ERA in 68.1 innings pitched. He made four starts starting the streak before being called up by Cleveland. He made one start in 2013. His last loss as a Clipper came in the start prior to the one started the streak on May 28, 2012 at Buffalo.
INF Zach Walters made his first start in the outfield with the Clippers on Tuesday. He also extended his hit streak to 18 games (five with Columbus). He went 2-for-4 with a double on Tuesday.
RHP Gabriel Arias will start for the Clippers in the opener in the opener at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In his last start, Arias was doomed by two two-out two-run homers in the second inning, but was spared the loss after the Clippers came back to tie the game.
Arias has made one appearance this season against the RailRiders. It was on June 14, just before he was sent back to Akron. He pitched three shutout innings in relief, allowing a hit and he struck out four and got credit for the win.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will counter with RHP Bryan Mitchell (3-1, 2.88). It will be his sixth career start at the Triple-A level and he has yet to face the Clippers.
The win extends the Clippers lead over Indianapolis to three games for the time being. Toledo isn’t far behind, now four games back and Louisville is 4.5 games out of first. Indy hosts Toledo on Tuesday night and Louisville plays at Rochester. Both games are scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.