Home field wasn’t very kind to the Columbus Clippers as they returned to Huntington Park to face the Norfolk Tides in a three-game series. Norfolk took advantage of Columbus’ miscues during the entire series to sweep the Clippers. Columbus allowed six unearned runs on four errors in the sweep.
Columbus outhit Norfolk but they were unable to outscore the Tides in their opening game at Huntington Park. Thanks to throwing errors by Michael Martinez, Jose Ramirez and Zach Walters Columbus allowed four unearned runs and Norfolk was able to hold on for the 6-5 victory.
The Clippers knocked out 11 hits compared to the Tides seven; Ramirez had a two-hit, three-RBI night in the losing effort. In addition to Ramirez, Tyler Naquin, Lonnie Chisenhall and Adam Moore each had two hits.
Toru Murata took the loss, pitching seven innings and allowing five runs, one earned, on four hits and three walks with a pair of strike outs. Michael Bowden upped his season mark to 5-2 in the win for the Tides. Bowden went five innings and allowed two runs on five hits and one base on balls. He struck out three Clippers batters.
Ramirez gave the Clippers a first inning lead, 1-0, with an RBI double that scored Naquin. The Tides scored three in the top of the fourth inning to go ahead 3-1. The damage could have been minimized had it not been for a two-out throwing error by Martinez. The shortstop made a wild throw on a sure third out that allowed two runs to score.
Columbus added a run in the bottom of the fourth on a fielder’s choice on a ground ball hit by Zach Walters.
Errors reared their ugly head again in the sixth inning for the Clippers as the Tides upped their lead to 5-2. Ramirez allowed the lead-off hitter aboard with a throwing error and Walters allowed him and another run to score on his throwing error from third.
Columbus made the game interesting in the bottom of the ninth. Following a pair of ground outs, Adam Moore doubled and Martinez walked. Naquin then doubled home Moore and moved Martinez to third. Ramirez continued the rally with a two-run single to bring the Clippers to within a run, 6-5. That was all they were able to muster as Chisenhall grounded out to end the game with the tying run on first.
Norfolk hammered Columbus 9-3 in the second game of their series. The Tides had 16 hits, three home runs and four doubles in the game. Norfolk took a 6-0 lead before Columbus scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Left fielder Henry Urrutia got the Tides on the board with a first inning home run to open the game. Catcher Audry Perez added three more runs in the sixth inning with his first home run of the season. Norfolk added a fourth run in the sixth on a Paul Janish RBI single to put them up 5-0.
First baseman Christian Walker belted his third homer of the season in to lead off the sixth inning and give Norfolk a 6-0 lead.
Columbus scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to cut the lead in half, 6-3. Michael Martinez and Tyler Naquin had RBI’s, Martinez on a single and Naquin on a sacrifice fly. The third run scored on a fielding error by Norfolk right fielder Dariel Alvarez.
Norfolk put the game out of reach in the eighth inning when they scored three runs on two doubles, a pair of walks and a wild pitch by Kyle Crockett.
The Tides used five pitchers in the game allowing nine hits and three walks with eight strike outs. Pat McCoy (2-2) earned the win with two innings of work.
Michael Roth (6-3) took the loss for Columbus. Roth worked 4.1 innings and gave up five runs on 11 hits, two home runs, and three walks.
The Clippers and the Tides went to extra-innings to decide the final game of the season between the two teams and Norfolk completed the series sweep with 5-4 victory in 12 innings.
The Columbus Clippers looked as if they were going to get blown out before they were able to claw their way back into the contest in eighth inning on home runs by Jesus Aguilar and Jerry Sands.
The Tides jumped to a 3-0 lead in the third inning on three consecutive doubles and a fielding error by Clippers right fielder Tyler Holt. They added a fourth run in the top of the eighth inning on a RBI double by Dariel Alvarez.
The Clippers tied the game at 4-4 in the eighth inning on the two home runs; it was Aguilar’s 10th home run of the season and Sands eighth. Tyler Naquin and Jose Ramirez were on base when Aguilar homered to left-center. Sands hit his solo shot two batters later. The Tides used three pitchers in the inning.
Both teams had runners in scoring position in the tenth inning but were unable to get a run across, the Clippers had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the 11th and couldn’t put the game away.
Norfolk was able to get to Dustin Molleken in the 12th inning, scoring the eventual game winner on a pair of doubles by Dariel Alvarez and Steve Clevenger. Molleken took the loss (5-2) for the Clippers and Eddie Gamboa (5-5) was the winner with Pedro Beato earning the save for Norfolk.
Both teams have an off day before Columbus hosts Durham for a three-game set and Norfolk travels to Toledo for three games with the Mud Hens.
By Mike Tanchevski