Game Recaps: Sunday 4/26
The Columbus Clippers were clear sailing to victory during the first seven and two third innings, then the seas got rough and everything seemed to go wrong. Five runs with two outs in the eighth inning by the Indianapolis Indians highlighted a 5-4 defeat Sunday afternoon.
Clippers starter Tomo Ohka pitched six dazzling innings, allowing only two hits and facing one batter over the minimum. Zach Jackson came on in the seventh and recorded outs on five of the first six batters he faced. With two outs in the eighth inning, Erick Kratz got things going with a single, and Chris Barnwell and Andrew McCutchen would follow with singles of their own to load the bases. Jackson then walked Luis Cruz to bring in the first run and was replaced on the mound by Ryan Edell.
A possible rally seemed to be stopped when Edell got the first batter he faced, Jeff Salazar, to ground to first base. Michael Aubrey, however, threw to second base to get the final out instead of stepping on first. His throw was in the dirt and couldn’t be handled by Valbuena, allowing two more runs to score. After another walk, this time to Garret Jones, a single by Steve Pearce brought in runs four and five and gave the Indians the lead they needed for the victory.
While Ohka had every Indian batter frustrated early on, the Clippers offense gave him some support starting in the second. Andy Marte doubled with one out and would be brought home on a single by the next batter, Josh Barfield. Barfield would add another RBi in the sixth inning when he singled home Aubrey, and Andy Cannizaro followed with a fielder’s choice groundball that plated Matt LaPorta.
Michael Brantley manufactured a run in the seventh without the help of a hit. He walked, advanced on a walk to Valbuena, then strolled to third on a fly ball and used his speed to score on a wild pitch by Jeremy Powell. That gave the Clippers a 4-0 lead after seven innings.
Columbus will try and bounce back tomorrow night as they begin a ten game, eleven day road trip. The trip starts with division rival Toledo at 6:30 pm. Taking the mound for the Clippers will be RHP Kirk Saarloos (1-2, 6.00) and opposing him will be Mud Hen RHP Ron Chiavacci (0-2, 5.14).
Aeros Falter Late in 7-6 Loss
AKRON, OH – Altoona scored four times in the eighth and Pedro Lopez hit a solo homer in the top of the 10th as the Curve came from behind to score a 7-6 triumph over the Aeros before 3,943 fans at Canal Park Sunday afternoon. Altoona improved to 5-12 while Akron dropped to 13-4, although the Aeros did win three of five games in the series.
Akron got off to a great start thanks to four Curve errors in the first inning alone (Altoona set a season-high with six errors in the game overall). The Aeros had the bases loaded with one out when Josh Rodriguez ripped a grounder to third, and while Angel Gonzalez made a great diving stop on the play, his throw was well wide of first as Carlos Rivero and Beau Mills both came in to score. Jerad Head followed with an RBI groundout to first, and Mickey Hall capped the inning with an RBI knock to center to make it 4-0.
The Curve got on the board in the fourth on a two-run homer from Jason Delaney to cut the margin in half, but the Aeros responded in the seventh as a single by Mills and a double by Carlos Santana put both men in scoring position before Head lofted a soft liner over the drawn-in infield to make it 6-2.
Akron starter Frank Herrmann cruised through seven innings, but found immediate trouble when he went back out to start the eighth. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with no one out for Altoona, and the Aeros summoned newcomer Paolo Espino from the bullpen. It wasn’t the debut Espino hoped for however, as he bobbled Anderson Machado’s come-backer, which should have led to an out at the plate, and Hector Gimenez scored to make it 6-3 on the fielding error. Espino then got Lopez to hit a slow bouncer to short that led to one out, but Rodriguez lost his grip on the relay throw as the ball squirted into right field to score two runs and make it 6-5. Jose Tabata then laced an RBI single to left to tie the game before Espino got out of the jam.
The Aeros had some definite chances to break the tie, getting the leadoff man aboard in both the eighth and ninth innings but never advancing the runner to scoring position. Akron had one final chance in the bottom of the 10th when Damaso Espino led off with a single, but John Drennen hit into a double play and Jose Constanza struck out to end the game.
Jean Machi (1-1) earned the win in relief with three shutout innings, while Paolo Espino (0-1) allowed all three of his inherited runners to score and suffered the blown save and the loss. Herrmann turned in a strong outing, working seven-plus innings and allowing just six hits. He also set a season-high with five strikeouts. Constanza finished 3-6 to lead the way offensively (his third three-hit performance in as many days), while Head had a pair of hits and drove in three runs. Rodriguez went 2-4 with a walk and Hall was 1-2 and walked three times.
The Aeros will enjoy a rare day off Monday before getting back to work and hosting the Harrisburg Senators Tuesday evening at 7:05 p.m. Hector Rondon (3-0, 1.10 ERA) will take the hill for Akron while Harrisburg counters with left-hander Justin Jones (1-1, 2.38 ERA).
K-Tribe Beats Lynchburg 6-3
The K-Tribe got another strong starting pitching performance and some big bats at key times to beat Lynchburg 6-3 Sunday afternoon at Historic Grainger Stadium. The K-Tribe took the final two games of the four game series from the Northern Division leading Hillcats to earn a series split. Kinston (9-9) is now one game behind first place Salem in the Carolina League Southern Division.
Kinston starter Eric Berger was great on the mound for the Indians, giving up just three hits and no earned runs through five innings. Berger (2-1) struck out six and did not walk a batter. Matt Meyer and Heath Taylor each had scoreless outings from the bullpen. Taylor picked up his second save of the season.
Kinston got all the runs they needed in a four run, five hit fourth inning. The Indians Matt McBride started the inning off with his third home run of the season. After a Matt Brown walk and a Ronald Rivas single, Roman Pena got on with a bunt single and Brown scored on an errant throw by the pitcher. Richard Martinez would follow with an RBI single and Cristo Arnal would add an RBI ground out. Kinston would add two more runs in the fifth inning with RBI hits from McBride and Rivas. McBride finished the day 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI, extending his hitting streak to eleven games. Cord Phelps went 2-for-3, extending his hit streak to eleven games as well. Lonnie Chisenhall’s eleven game hit streak came to an end when he went 0-for-3 and got hit by a pitch in his last at bat. Ronald Rivas also had two hits.
The K-Tribe has a scheduled off day on Monday and will then begin a three game series at Historic Grainger Stadium with the Salem Avalanche for first place in the Carolina League Southern Division. Zach Putnam will be the starter for Tuesday’s game, 7pm start time at Historic Grainger Stadium.