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‘Minor League Baseball’ Articles

Clippers come from behind again to beat Louisville, 4-3 in 10

Huntington Park Scoreboard (megasportsnews.com)

Dan Hock of megasportsnews.com also contributed to this story.

Columbus, Ohio–The 2010 Columbus Clippers baseball team has been dubbed the comeback kids because in all four of their victories, they’ve shown an ability to erase one-run deficits against Indianapolis and Louisville, two of the three teams they’ll be fighting with for the International League’s West Division Championship. Louisville has won it the last two seasons.

Also, this Clippers team can score runs in bunches. Through the first six games of the season, Columbus has scored three innings of at least five runs. They are 3-0 when having  5+ run inning (had 14 innings of at least five runs last season, going 12-1 in such games). So far, they have only given up  five or more runs in an inning once, losing that game (allowed five or more 15 times in 2009, going 0-14). The Clippers have scored multiple runs in an inning 12 times this season in 42 total innings (29%). Columbus currently leads all of Minor League Baseball with 46 runs scored.

LCF at Huntington Park (megasportsnews.com)

Tuesday night the Clippers had to come-from-behind twice to defeat the Louisville Bats. The final score in 10 innings, 4-3 on a walk-off home run by left fielder Chris Gimenez.

With the win, Columbus is 2-0 thus far on the season vs. the Bats. Louisville has been a thorn in the side of the Clippers for several years now. Last season, the Bats went 15-6 against Columbus and were 7-3 vs. the Clippers in the first season at Huntington Park. Going back to the 2007 season, the Bats have and overall edge of 40-20. If the Clippers want to win their division, they’ll have to beat Louisville and Toledo.

Louisville started the scoring last night when their designated hitter Daniel Dorn hit the first pitch of the second inning, a 92 mph fastball over the Wendy’s balcony in rightfield for his 3rd home run of the season making it 1-0. Dorn is having a solid season as he has gotten off on a good start hitting .368.

The Clippers, after missing out on a golden opportunity to go ahead in the first inning due to the wildness of Bats’ starting pitcher Sam LeCure, they finally got going on offense in the bottom of the third.  Jason Donald scored on a base hit by Wes Hodges to make it a 1-1 game. Back-to-back walks to Brian Buscher and Anderson Hernandez plated Shelley Duncan for a 2-1 Clippers lead.

Wendy's Rightfield Balcony (megasportsnews.com)

The Clippers kept Sam LeCure on the ropes all game due to his inconsistent pitching, but they could never break the game open with more runs.

The Bats on the other hand, kept applying pressure on Clippers starter Carlos Carrasco who was struggling himself on the mound. Carrasco got himself into trouble in the third inning giving up a single and walk, but got the dangerous Juan Francisco, just demoted by the Reds over the weekend, to ground out to shortstop.

In the fifth inning, Louisville got two runners on with no outs and Carrasco wiggled out of that jam by getting Chris Heisey to ground out to the shortstop.

But in the 7th inning, Carrasco’s luck ran out on him and it was his own undoing that cost him the lead. Zack Cozart led off with a basehit to center and stole second. Wilkin Castillo walked and Chris Valaika put down a sacrifice bunt to the left of the mound and Carlos Carrasco didn’t wait for Brian Buscher to get to third and threw the ball down the leftfield line and into the Louisville bullpen. By the time leftfielder Chris Gimenez came up with the ball, Zack Cozart scored and Wilkin Castillo had scored from first base to make the score 3-2 Louisville.

The Columbus Skyline hovers over the ballpark (megasportsnews.com)

The score stayed 3-2 until the bottom of the ninth inning when Columbus staged one of their patented comebacks.

With Jon Adkins pitching in relief, Jose Constanza opened the inning with a single to center. Lead-off batter Trevor Crowe followed with a hit to left center. Jason Donald laid down a sacrifice to move the runners up to third and second. The IL Player of the Week, Carlos Santana was walked intentionally to load the bases. Columbus loading the bases all night was a habit. They loaded the bases up 5 times and scored only twice.

Designated Hitter Shelley Duncan, the IL’s reigning Most Valuable Player should a very professional approach at the plate and worked the count in his favor and then lined a base hit to rightfield to score Jose Constanza from third and the game is tied 3-3. Louisville escaped the 9th by getting Wes Hodges to ground into a 5-3 double play.

In the 10th inning against Louisville’s 6th pitcher, Jesus Delgado, Columbus won the game. After getting the first two batters in the inning to ground out to the second baseman, Chris Gimenez drove a high pitch to the left centerfield lawn area and the crowd goes home happy with a 4-3 win over the Louisville Bats.

The Clippers are now 4-2 on the season and Louisville falls to 3-3.

Wednesday at 6:35 p.m., Columbus will welcome in their third division opponent, the Toledo Mud Hens. It’ll be Phil Dumatriat (0-0, 6.75 ) against Hector Rondon (0-0, 21.00)

SOUNDS FROM THE POSTGAME MANAGER’S OFFICE. (to listen to an audio file, just click the link)/

44 807 Mike Sarbaugh Clippers Manager It was quite a ballgame

44 808 Mike Sarbaugh Clippers Manager Carlos Carrasco kept Columbus in game

44 809 Mike Sarbaugh Clippers Manager Good 9th inning at bat by Shelley Duncan

44 811 Mike Sarbaugh Clippers Manager They have to win these close games to contend

Getting ready to cover the Clippers (megasportsnews.com)

GAME NOTES

* Clippers stars Wes Hodges (19) and Shelley Duncan ( 18) rank first and tied for 2nd respectively in the International League in longest on-base streaks.

* The current Columbus roster features four former Arizona Wildcats, Shelley Duncan(1999-2001), Trevor Crowe (2002-2005) and Jason Donald (2004-2006) and Jordan Brown (2003-2005).

* Through six games in 2010, Huntington Park has seen 19 home runs, 11 by the Clippers.

* Carlos Santana was named the International League Player of the Week for the opening week of the season (April 8-11). Santana hit .438 (7 for 16) with 4 homers and 8 RBI’s in four games to start the season, becoming the team’s first catcher to win the honor since Izzy Molina in 1999.

* The Louisville Bats now have six of Baseball America’s top 10 Cincinnati Reds prospects on the team this year. IF/OF Todd Frazier (#1),  OF Chris Heisey (#4), Juan Francisco (#5), LHP Travis Wood (#7), LHP Matt Maloney (#8) and if Zack Cozart (#10).

* Louisville Slugger Field was listed among the “10 great places for a baseball pilgrimage” in the Monday April 5 edition of USA Today. Reporter Tim Smight highlighted the site’s history, proximity to the Ohio River and the view of the downtown skyline.

Clippers continue to play well, defeat Louisville 5-3 (Monday)

Courtesy of Columbus Clippers

Scott Lewis Clippers (MiLB)

Since the season began on the Clippers first homestand of the season, a big inning was the difference for Columbus as they won 5-3 to open a two-game series with the Louisville Bats.

This time it was a five-run sixth inning that propelled the Clippers and their first winning streak since July of 2009.

Former Ohio State star Scott Lewis made his first start of 2010 and was very impressive, allowing one run and two hits over six innings, while striking out ten.

Wes Hodges RBI-double off of Bats starter Justin Lehr started the rally in the sixth inning. Brian Buscher’s sacrifice fly gave the Clippers their first lead, and then Jose Constanza brought home two more with a double. Constanza would later come around to score on a wild pitch.

Danny Dorn hit a two-run home run in the ninth against Mike Gosling to cap the scoring, but the rally fell short and Columbus improved to 3-2 on the young season.

Tuesday night the series continues at Huntington Park as Carlos Carrasco  goes against Louisville’s Sam McClure. Game time is 6:35 p.m.

Columbus Clippers 9 Indianapolis Indians 4 (Sunday)

Courtesy of Columbus Clippers

Johan Pino (MiLB)

The Columbus Clippers showcased their potent offensive attack again on Sunday afternoon, scoring 9 runs on 12 hits and beating Indianapolis 9-4.

Yohan Pino went 5 strong innings and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits while striking out 5 batters.

Carlos Santana was the leader of the offense, clubbing his 4th homer of the season in the first inning off of losing pitcher Chris Jakubauskas.  The Indians rallied for 2 runs in their half of the 4th inning to take a brief 2-1 lead, but Columbus grabbed the lead for good with 2 runs in the 5th on a Damaso Espino single and a Trevor Crowe sacrifice fly.

Carlos Santana Clippers (MiLB)

The Clippers tacked on a 5-run 7th, highlighted by 2 Brian Bixler doubles to take a 9-2 lead that would be threatened, but not overcome. Carlton Smith and Frank Hermann combined for 3 scoreless innings of relief and Jess Todd pitched the 9th inning, giving up 2 runs.

Clippers fall narrowly to Indy, 4-3

A night removed from playing a 14-12 slugfest, it was the pitching that took over Saturday night inside Huntington Park when the Columbus Clippers and Indianapolis Indians met for the third game of a four-game series.

The teams split the two previous match-ups and Saturday night marked the rubber game of the three-game set.

Unfortunately for Columbus, though, they would fall in the final game of the series, 4-3.

The Clippers fell behind early after Indians first baseman Steve Pearce knocked a groundball between shortstop and third for a two-run first-inning single after Clippers starting pitcher Jeanmar Gomez walked the bases loaded.

Gomez was able to retire the Indians in order in the second, but was roughed up again in the third.

After Indians right fielder Brandon Jones doubled to start the inning, Gomez appeared primed to wiggle out of trouble after striking out DH Brandon Myrow looking and coaxing a pop-out from third baseman Pedro Alvarez. But a line-drive single off the bat of left fielder Brandon Moss chased home the third Indians run of the night.

All told, Gomez pitched five innings, allowing four hits and three runs. He struck out five and walked four. Clearly Gomez did not have his best stuff Saturday night, but he battled nicely and kept the Clippers in the game.

The problem on this night for the Clippers was their inability to get a timely hit. Columbus left runners on base in the second, third and fourth innings.

Failing to score in the fourth was particularly frustrating.

After Clippers left fielder Shelley Duncan walked to begin the bottom of the fourth inning, catcher Carlos Santana sent a high fly ball to moderately deep left field where Duncan’s counterpart, Brandon Moss, dropped the baseball, opening the door for a potential Clippers rally.

Unfortunately for the home team, however, following the Moss error, DH Wes Hodges flew out to center and third baseman Brian Bixler struck out looking. That brought Brian Horwitz to the plate with two outs.

Horwitz found himself in a similar situation in the second inning when, with two on and two out, he grounded out to end the inning.

This time around, Horwitz lined out softly to Indians second baseman Brian Friday to end the threat.

The Clippers were finally able to break through and plate a pair of runs in the fifth inning. Shortstop Anderson Hernandez led off with a walk and advanced to third after left fielder promptly followed with a double to right-center.

Hernandez scored on an infield single from second baseman Jason Donald.

Columbus could have easily plated a couple more runs in that inning, but Russell Branyan’s 4-6-3 double-play, though scoring Crowe, erased the threat.
After scoreless innings each from Hector Ambriz and Steven Wright, Columbus was able to again strike in the seventh inning, this time scoring off Indians reliever Anthony Claggett in his second inning of work.

Horwitz doubled off Claggett to begin the inning and Hernandez followed with a line-drive single to center, tying the game at three.

No sooner had the scoreboard operator changed the score, did he have to change it again in the top of the eighth after Moss bashed a homerun off the scoreboard in left field off Wright, pitching his second inning of relief. Wright would rebound nicely to retire the next three batters in succession, but the damage had been done.

Jean Machi came in and nailed down the game, earning a two-inning save to preserve the victory.

Columbus drops to 1-2 on the season and is in action again Sunday afternoon when it wraps up this four-game series with Indianapolis. First pitch is slated for 1:05.

Indianapolis outslugs Columbus, 14-12 (Friday)

Courtesy of Columbus Clippers

In game two the young baseball season, fans at Huntington Park thought they would see a pitcher’s

duel  between two of the best IL pitchers from 2009, Hector Rondon of Columbus and Brad Lincoln of Indianapolis.

Did they see a pitcher’s duel ?

No, not hardly!

Friday night, Rondon and Lincoln combined to go 6.1 innings and allow 14 runs on 18 hits. When all was said and done, the Indians  outslugged Columbus 14-12 and both teams are 1-1 in the young season.

Shelley Duncan (MiLB)

During the game, there were two mega-prospects having an individual battle: Carlos Santana of Columbus and Pedro Alvarez of Indianapolis. The edge goes to Alvarez who went 2-5 with 2 home runs and 5 RBI’s compared to Santana who doubled and homered, driving in 3 runs in 5 at bats.

The Indians were held scoreless in the first inning, but scored in each of the next 6 innings including a 5-run 5th that gave them the lead for good. Josh Tomlin took the loss in his Triple-A debut, going 1.2 innings and allowing 5 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks. Shelley Duncan hit his first homer of the season in a losing effort.

Saturday evening at 7:05 the series continues with Jeanmar Gomez making his first Triple-A start for Columbus against Indians lefty Donnie Veal.

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