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Kluber dominates, Clippers win 6-4

Kluber dominates, Clippers win 6-4
April 7, 2012
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The Columbus Clippers came out in their royal blue uniforms Saturday night and took game three of their series with the Louisville Bats by a score of 6-4.

Right-handed starting pitcher Corey Kluber made his season debut and was looking to make up for a 2011 season with the Clippers that did not live up to his expectations as he went 7-11 with a 5.56 ERA.  Kluber’s counterpart Sean Gallagher started for the Bats, who last season in his three appearances against Columbus went 1-2 and had a 6.17 ERA.

Kluber was able to put last season behind him fast, as in his first half inning of the season he was able to strikeout the side on fourteen pitches.  Unfortunately the Clippers were unable to capitalize in the bottom half of the inning as third basemen Lonnie Chisenhall left two baserunners stranded after first baseman Matt LaPorta singled and left fielder Russ Canzler walked.

The Clippers then broke out with a five-run surge in the bottom of the second.  Designated hitter Trevor Crowe was able to start the party by reaching base safely with a double to lead off the inning and later scored on a wild pitch.  Second baseman Cord Phelps brought in catcher Luke Carlin with an RBI single, and then LaPorta had the big blow of the night as he smashed a towering three run home run to right field.

The homer was LaPorta’s second homer of the season and he has homered in consecutive games.  Manager Mike Sarbaugh wasn’t surprised with his performance.

“Matt has the potential to do what he has done the past couple of nights [every night],” he said.

Gallagher allowed a solo home run to Carlin and a double to Phelps in the fourth inning, and after just three and a third innings pitched was replaced by right handed pitcher Kanekoa Texeira.  On the night Gallagher allowed six earned runs on seven hits, and also gave up a pair of long balls. 

Kluber started the fifth inning a little shaky giving up a walk to Daryl Jones, a single to Chris Valaika, and then hit Denis Phipps in the forearm, but he was able to to get out of the jam with out giving up a run.

Kluber stole the show for the first five innings of the game as he was able to sit ten Bats batters down on strikeouts and did not allow a run.  He was replaced in the top of the sixth by right handed reliever Hector Ambriz.

The Bats were finally able to get a run on the board in the sixth inning when Janish hit an RBI double allowing designated hitter Bill Rhinehart to score.

Right-handed reliever Robinson Tejada came in for the Clippers to pitch the eighth inning and allowed two runs in one inning of work.  Bats' catcher Corky Miller took Tejada deep to left for a two-run home run to bring the Bats to with in three runs.  In the ninth inning right-handed reliever Chris Ray took the ball to close the win out for the Clippers.  Ray successfully got the save even though he gave up a run. 

Saurbaugh was not too worried about his bullpen allowing the game to get too close.

“It's been a while since they have been in competition. It was nice for them to just get some of the rust off,” he said.

Watch out for tomorrows game as the Clippers look to win the series against the Bats at 4:05 EST at Huntington Park.

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