Rottino, Fedroff Lead Clippers Past Indians 10-6
COLUMBUS—For most of the season, the Indianapolis Indians have been the class of the IL West and the league as a whole. Coming into Friday night’s game against the Clippers, the Indians were 55-32, a full 12 games ahead of Columbus in the standings and four games better than anyone else in the International League.
One game doesn’t change much of that, besides a mark in the standings, but the Clippers proved in game one of their series against the Indians Friday night that they can play with the league’s best. Columbus (44-44) rolled past Indianapolis and the Indians’ ace, 10-6, continuing its recent trend of showing up in the win column more often than not. The Clippers have now won nine of its past 15 games and are 13-7 over the last 20 contests.
Columbus first baseman Vinny Rottino propelled the offense in the game’s early innings. Rottino hit a single, a double, and a triple in his first three at-bats. He fell short of recording the Clippers’ second cycle of the season, failing to get on base in his final two at-bats.
A big inning early and a solid pitching effort paved the way for Columbus against the Indians.
After falling behind on an RBI triple by hot-hitting Indianapolis center fielder Starling Marte in the top of the first inning, the Clippers had a four-run outburst in the bottom of the second.
A misplay in the outfield led to the Clippers first run of the game in the second.
Tim Fedroff hit a deep fly ball to right field. Indians’ outfielder Jose Tabata, expecting the ball to bounce of the wall and back to him, stopped 10 feet in front of the warning track. The hit did not carry as far as Tabata thought it would, and the ball bounced short of the wall, and then rolled towards the right-field corner.
Third baseman Jared Goedert, who led off the inning with a single up the middle, was able to score all the way from first base. Fedroff, not known for his speed, was able to stretch the hit into a triple, just beating out an attempted relay by the Indians.
Fedroff also homered in the bottom of the third and was a major force for Columbus’ offense. The left fielder, like Rottino, was a hit short of the cycle with a double, triple and a home run.
While the mishap did not directly extend Columbus’ inning, it seemed to spark the Clippers’ bats.
After a groundout to second base that scored Fedroff and a Gregorio Petit strikeout, the Clippers’ rallied with two outs and scored two more runs off Indiapolis starter Rudy Owens.
Center fielder Ezequiel Carrera singled up the middle, and second baseman Cord Phelps walked for the second-straight inning. Rottino brought them both home, doubling off the wall in right-center field.
Owens faced the complete Columbus lineup in the inning and doubled his pitch-count. The left-hander threw 39 pitches in the inning. With the temperature at first pitch around 100 degrees, and the thermometer staying in the 90s for the rest of the game, Owens laboring in the second could have led to his short outing.
Owens lasted just 3.1 innings—his shortest start of the season by far—and allowed a season-high six-earned runs. The left-hander was averaging more than six innings a start and had not gone fewer than five frames in 16 outings.
Owens, the Indians’ best starter of 2012, was 7-3 with a 2.45 ERA heading into Friday’s game. Since his first start of the season on April 10, Owens had recorded 15-consecutive starts of six innings or more, with five being at least seven frames.
Corey Kluber, meanwhile, pitched his way into the eighth inning. The Columbus right-hander gave up four-earned runs, two of which came in the eighth when Kluber couldn’t record an out.
In the eighth, the Indians began the inning with a triple and a single, taking Kluber out of the game. Right-hander Chris Ray came out of the bullpen in relief, and two hits and six batters later, Indianapolis had scored four runs in the inning.
Columbus fared well against the Indianapolis bullpen.
The Clippers scored a run in each the fifth, six, seventh, and eighth innings off Indians’ relievers. Columbus scored on a double steal in the fifth, a Russ Canzler homer in the sixth, a Luke Carlin double in the seventh and a Goedert double in the eighth.
Right-hander Cody Allen recorded the save in the ninth.
Columbus and Indianapolis will play game two of the series on Saturday at 7:05 p.m.