The Columbus Clippers lost three of four games to the International League South leading Charlotte Knights. The Clippers have fallen three games behind Indianapolis in the IL West during their 3-7 record over their last ten games. Clipper pitching has allowed 40 home runs on the year, the most in the International League.
Charlotte put up crooked numbers in two innings on their way to an 8-6 victory over the Columbus Clippers in the first of four games at BB&T Ballpark. The teams exchanged the lead four times in the contest as neither starting pitcher lasted more than five innings. It was a pair of home runs by the Knights that salted the game away
T.J. House was tagged with the loss; the lefty allowed three earned runs on five hits and three walks while striking out four in five innings of work.
In the top of the second inning Columbus took the lead on a throwing error by Knight’s pitcher Erik Johnson. Following a sacrifice bunt from Jerry Sands, Zach Walters scored from second base.
Charlotte came back with four runs in the bottom of the inning with the help of a throwing error by third baseman Zach Walters that kept the inning alive.
Following a Jason Coats sacrifice fly to centerfield that scored a run, George Kottaras added two more with his first home run of the season. Leury Garcia followed with a double and scored the fourth run on Micah Johnson’s RBI single.
Columbus continued to chip away at the lead. They made the score 4-3 in the third inning on a Tyler Holt RBI triple and a Jesus Aguilar RBI single and took a 6-4 lead in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Francisco Lindor and Jesus Aguilar along with a Zach Walters sacrifice fly.
The Knights were able to counter that with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth; all three came on a Matt Davidson blast to center.
A throwing error by C.C. Lee in the bottom of the seventh led to the Knights eighth and final run.
Daniel Webb got the win for the Knights and Jairo Asencio picked up his ninth save of the year.
For the second consecutive game the Clippers allowed Charlotte big offensive innings on their way to a 9-5 defeat, it was their sixth loss in their last eight games. The Knights scored two in the second, three in the fifth and four in the seventh as they won their third in a row.
Kyle Drabek pitched five innings in the win; he allowed two runs on three hits and four walks while striking out seven. Nick Maronde dropped his season mark to 0-6 with the loss. He gave up four runs on a pair of home runs.
Columbus took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning on James Ramsey RBI double.
Charlotte went up 2-1 in the bottom of the inning on a Matt Davidson solo home run and Jason Coats RBI single. Columbus tied the game 2-2 in the top of the fourth on a bases loaded walk.
Charlotte then scored three runs in the fifth and four runs in the seventh to take a 9-4 lead. The Knights sent eight and nine batters to the plate during those two innings.
Columbus batters struck out 13 times in the game.
The Clippers ended their losing streak with a 9-3 romp over the Knights in the third game of the series. The win featured a seven run outburst in the fourth inning combined with strong pitching performance from starter Toru Murata.
Columbus had fifteen hits in the game, five in the seven run fourth inning. The Clippers sent eleven hitters to the plate in a fourth inning that also featured a walk and an error. Zach Walters had the big bat in the inning, hitting a home run and a double for two RBI.
Giovanny Urshela added a two-run home run in the ninth inning. It was his second of the season.
Murata, who won his third game of the season. He pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits, while striking out four.
Columbus went down fighting in the fourth and final game of their series in Charlotte. A four-run ninth inning was enough to tie the game but defensive problems in the bottom of the inning gave the Knights an 8-7 victory.
The game featured multiple home runs from both teams. For Columbus Giovanny Urshela hit a solo shot in the fourth inning and James Ramsey hit a three-run blast in the ninth inning rally. Charlotte had three players homer; Trayce Thompson hit a two-run homer in the second inning, Matt Davidson hit a two-run poke in the fourth inning and Jason coats hit a two-run blast in the sixth inning.
Clipper starter Michael Roth was roughed up for seven runs on nine hits and three walks in 5.1 innings of work. He struck out four.
With the game tied, Clippers’ reliever Shawn Armstrong came on to work the ill-fated ninth. He walked the first two hitters before unleashing a wild pitch to advance the runners to second and third. With a base open he intentionally walked Matt Tuiaosoppo to load the bases. First baseman Audy Ciriaco dropped a foul pop-up which would have given the Clippers one out before Trayce Thompson single home the winning run.
The Clippers head to Gwinnett for a three game series to close out the road trip.
By Mike Tanchevski