COLUMBUS, OHIO- On a beautiful 70 degree night in Columbus, with the minds of the fans elsewhere in Boston, Scott Kazmir
saw his first action in affiliated baseball since 2011. Carlos Carrasco
lended him a four-inning hand of near-perfection, and the two "starters" led the Clippers to a 4-1 victory.
Starting the game with a moment of silence for the victims of the bombings at the 117th Boston Marathon, the Clippers provided a bit of a distraction from the tragedies that occurred earlier in the day.
From that solemn moment forward, Scott Kazmir was the center of attention.
Kazmir had a bit of an unlucky start to his outing after getting ahead 0-2 to Bats’ speedy centerfielder, Billy Hamilton
Swinging hard and missing a Kazmir fastball to get behind 0-2, Hamilton laid down a hard bunt and blazed down the basepath for an infield single. Bats’ shortstop, and former Cleveland Indian, Jason Donald
, then smacked a liner in the gap, but was thrown out at second base by Clippers’ right fielder Matt Carson
Kazmir, with a confidence boost from his defense, struck out the next two Bats on his way to retiring 9 straight Bats.
Bats’ starter Armando Galarraga
was lights out to start things off as well. After giving up a single to Clippers designated hitter Tim Fedroff
to start his outing, Galarraga retired nine of his next ten batters, striking out four.
The Clippers were finally able to get to Galarraga in the bottom of the fourth.
After walks by Carson and first baseman Mike McDade
, shortstop Juan Diaz
knocked a ground ball to Donald. On what looked like a sure double play, Donald flipped the ball to second baseman Ray Chang
, who then made an errant throw to first baseman Neftali Soto
. Soto almost made a nice scoop to preserve Galarraga’s shutout, but the ball fell out of his glove and Diaz was safe. As Carson was rounding third, Soto made an errant throw to Bat’s catcher Corky Miller
, allowing Carson to score the first run of the game and Diaz to advance to second base.
The night was over for Galarraga immediately after that messy sequence of events for the Bats.
Although he wasn’t able to make it through 4 innings, Galarraga had a decent outing. Throwing 53 pitches, and a large majority of those for strikes, Galarraga allowed two hits and no earned runs, with four strikeouts.
Kazmir continued to follow Galarraga’s suit and fell into some trouble of his own in the top of the fifth inning.
When Soto reached first base after a lazy ground ball tipped off of Kazmir’s glove, two straight Bats hit soft singles to load the bases for Miller with no outs. Miller drilled a 3-1 pitch to Diaz at shortstop for a double play, but Soto was able to score, tying the game at 1-1. Kazmir was able to get out of the jam by getting Chang to flyout in the next at-bat, and only allowed a single run in the inning.
As it was a rehab start, Kazmir didn’t return for the Clippers, but was impressive overall.
In five innings, Kazmir threw 62 pitches, 41 of which were strikes, allowed five hits, one earned run, no walks, and had five strikeouts against the Louisville lineup. He had great command of his pitches, especially his fastball, which was reaching 91 mph.
While Kazmir’s night was over, the Clippers were able to strike again in the bottom of the fourth on yet another error by the Bats.
With two outs and catcher Roberto Perez
on first base after his single up the middle, third baseman Luis Hernandez
ripped a shot up between short and second that should have given the Clippers men on first and third. Instead, Hamilton let the ball go under his glove and past him, allowing Perez to score from first base and Hernandez to move to second. Hamilton was almost able to throw out Hernandez, who rounded second and was able to make a goofy dive back and avoid the tag. Perez made the game 2-1 in favor of the Clippers as he crossed home plate.
In the bottom of the sixth, shortstop Juan Diaz added to the Clippers lead with a two-run home run that barely crossed the yellow line atop the fence in left field, making the lead 4-1. When asked about his performance post-game, Diaz said “I’m hitting the ball well right now. I feel good. I am happy. Let’s keep it going.”
After his terrible start for the Indians in Cleveland, pitcher Carlos Carrasco relieved Kazmir and was very effective in his Clippers debut. In 4 innings of work, Carrasco yielded just a hit batter, without giving up a run, hitting the radar gun consistently in the mid to upper 90’s.
When Carrasco came out for the ninth inning, the game was all but over. Carrasco shut the door on the Bats with a three up, three down ninth and secured the win for Columbus.
Overall it was an encouraging day for the Indians organization as a whole, as well as the Clippers. Kazmir looked very sharp, just as he did in Goodyear, so there are no immediate concerns in regards to his comeback with the Tribe. Carrasco bounced back from his meltdown in Cleveland to show the Indians organization that if he can control his temper, he could be a very integral part of the staff going forward. Finally, the Clippers were able to secure their 6th win of the season, moving them to 6-5 overall.
The Clippers will be back in action against the Bats tomorrow night in Huntington Park at 6:35 pm. Columbus is slated to start Joe Martinez
against Bats’ 6’7 starter, Greg Reynolds