Walters powers Clippers over Pawtucket, 9-4
3B Zach Walters went 3-for-5 with 2 HR and 6 RBI in Sunday's win.
PAWTUCKET, MA – A five-run seventh inning gave the Columbus Clippers (61-55) the breathing room they needed to hold off the Pawtucket Red Sox (63-553) to claim their first victory in four games.
The Clippers were on the board first when Audy Ciriaco launched his 12th home run of the season in the top of the second.
In the third, Columbus starter Toru Murata got out of his first jam of the afternoon. Justin Henry and Alex Hassan both struck one-out singles, with an error putting the two runners on the first and third. Murata then buckled down and forced Travis Shaw into a pop out, and struck out Carlos Rivero to end the inning.
With two outs Elliot Johnson – the man who made the error in the previous inning – stepped to the dish with runners on first and second. Even though Red Sox starter Chris Hernandez had been replaced, his successor Ryan Verdugo couldn’t end the rally. Johnson singled to center to drive home Walters.
As Murata continued to stifle the opposition, Walters added to his box score by launching his 16th homer of the season in the sixth, making the score 4-0 Columbus.
But it was really the seventh inning that put the result to bed.
One man you don’t want to pitch to with runners on base is Jesus Aguilar, and he drew a walk to load the bases. Unfortunately for Pawtucket, the plan didn’t come off: one out later, Walters smashed a grand slam to left, capping his spectacular three-hit, six RBI performance.
Pawtucket finally got to Murata in the bottom of the hitting; a Derrik Gibson homer gave them their first two runs of the afternoon. They added one more run each in the eighth and ninth, but it was a classic case of too little, too late.
The two teams have a pair of games left in the series, the next one coming on Monday evening at 7:05. Tyler Cloyd – fresh off a no-hitter in his last outing – will take the ball for Columbus.