COLUMBUS- What appeared to be a promising outing by Columbus right-hander Joe Martinez, turned out to be another disappointing loss after a misfortunate sixth inning sparked a 9-2 beat down by the Lehigh Valley IronPigs Monday.
Martinez made quick work of the IronPigs in the first, retiring the first three batters on 5 pitches. He cruised from there, allowing a single run on three hits through five. The sixth inning is where the wheels started to fall off.
“His last couple of outings have been really good and the start of today’s outing was also really good,” manager Chris Tremie
said. “His command of his fastball is better. He’s down in the zone better and has a better sharpness out front with his breaking ball. It’s unfortunate. That game could have really had a different tone to it if that one inning doesn’t happen.”
Lehigh Valley center fielder Jermaine Mitchell
lead off wit base hit up the gut. Mitchell then stole third and second baseman Cesar Hernandez
advanced him with a groundout to second. Third baseman Cody Asche
followed with an RBI grounder to first. First baseman Chun-Hsiu Chen
went home with the ball but the throw was not in time.
Catcher Roberto Perez
attempted to block the plate but his feet were taken out from underneath him on the slide from Mitchell. Perez appeared to be shaken up but stayed in the game.
“In that situation in a game, whether you are playing in or back, the corners are going to be in,” Tremie said. “He (Chen) got a ball that he had a chance to make a play at but the runner was fast at third. If he had any hesitancy to it, I’d say take the out at first. But it was a little chopper and he had some time. The throw was a little high and it was just a close play.”
First baseman Darin Ruf
walked in the next at-bat and designated hitter Josh Fields
laced an RBI single just out of the reach of leaping second baseman Matt Lawson
. Right fielder Steve Susdorf
then lofted a sacrifice fly to center to make it 4-1.
The Clipper bullpen did not fair any better as the IronPigs shelled them for five more runs throughout the remainder of the game.
Hitless going into the bottom half of the fourth, the Clippers finally got to Lehigh Valley starter Ethan Martin
with an RBI base hit by third baseman Nate Spears
. With one down, center fielder Tim Fedroff
slapped a hard grounder deep into the hole at shortstop and beat out the throw for an infield single. He then swiped second base and second baseman Matt Lawson followed with a walk. After shortstop Juan Diaz
struck out swining, Spears blooped a base knock into center to give his team the 1-0 lead.
The IronPigs answered right back by tagging Martinez for a two-out run in the top of the fifth. The right-hander issued a one-out walk to right fielder Steve Susdorf before fanning Rupp for the second out of the inning. A downpour of rain ensued and Orr roped a two-bagger into the left center field gap to even the game.
Clipper left-handed reliever Scott Barnes
loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the eight and paid for it. He surrendered a bases-loaded walk to Rupp and then gave up a sacrifice fly to Orr before exiting the game with runners at the corners. Righty Chris Jakubauskas
relieved Barnes and worked his way out of the jam to prevent any further damage by Lehigh Valley.
Their final three runs came off of Jakubauskas in the top of the ninth. Asche smacked a double that hit off the left field line and Ruf singled off of Diaz’s glove to place runners at the corners. Fields hit a sacrifice fly to center, Susdorf reached on a ball that Chen misfielded and Rupp launched an RBI double off the right field wall. Left fielder Derrick Mitchell
capped off the onslaught with a single to left to bring the score to 9-1.
Santos trickled an RBI single down the third base line in the bottom of the ninth to give the Clippers another run but that was all the offense could muster.
Martinez (2-6, 6.23 ERA) allowed four runs on five hits with five strikeouts and three walks in the six frames he tossed. Martin (8-3, 5.03 ERA) on the other hand, tossed six innings but surrendered just one run on three hits with eight punch outs and five free passes.
The Columbus Clippers fall to 36-42 with their most recent defeat while Lehigh Valley increases their record to 41-36.
The Clippers hit the road Tuesday for a four-game series with the Norfolk Tides. Southpaw T.J. House
(1-7, 5.37 ERA) gets the nod for Columbus and will face a Norfolk starter that has yet to be determined. Action is set to begin at 7:05 p.m.