Following the All-Star break the Columbus Clippers headed to Buffalo Bison for a four-game series. The first two games saw the Clippers win by scores of 8-1 and 3-2 and extend their winning streak to eight games, more significantly they pulled to within two games of division leader, Indianapolis. The weekend was a different story, as the Bison were able to exploit Clippers pitching and take the final two games of the series, 5-1 and 4-3 (12 innings).
Columbus knocked out 14 hits in game one, including four doubles and three-run home run by Jerry Sands, his 14th of the season. Six Clippers had a multi-hit game and eight of nine starters had at least one hit in the contest; all nine reached base.
Toru Murata (7-4) pitched seven shutout innings on his way to the win. Murata allowed three hits, one walk and struck out four. Columbus reliever, Trey Haley gave up a ninth inning RBI single to Buffalo third baseman Andy Burns, to break up the shutout.
Game two saw the Clippers come back from a 2-0 second inning deficit. Columbus posted one run in the fourth and two runs in the fifth inning to secure the victory.
Shawn Marcum (7-1) was the winning pitcher, he was charged with both runs in six innings of work. Marcum fanned three and walked three Bison. C.C. Lee and Shawn Armstrong combined for three perfect innings as Armstrong picked up his 11th save of the season.
Columbus only had four hits in the game. Their first run came on a sacrifice fly by Zach Walters. The big blow was a two-out two-run double off the bat of Jesus Aguilar.
Game three singled the series shift as Buffalo hammered out 12 hits against Columbus pitchers, Michael Roth and Dustin Molleken. Roth wasn’t able to repeat his nine inning shutout against Toledo, prior to the break. Ten hits and four walks were too much to overcome for Roth. He gave up all five runs and allowed a pair of home runs during his outing.
The Clippers only run came in the top of the second on an RBI single by catcher Adam Moore. It was Moore’s 27th RBI of the season.
The series finale was particularly hard to swallow for Columbus. The Clippers took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning, an inning that saw the Bison tie the game on a three-run blast of Tyler Sturdevant, the second pitcher of the inning.
The blown save wasted seven shutout innings from Clipper starter Wil Roberts. Roberts only gave up five hits and one walk with two strikeouts in the start. Columbus used seven pitchers in the 12 inning affair. Tre Haley (1-1) was tagged with the loss. Haley walked the bases full in the bottom of the 11th inning before he allowed a game winning single off the bat of Dalton Pompey.
Columbus heads home for two games with Louisville and Buffalo awaits division foe Syracuse for four games at Coca-Cola Field.
By Mike Tanchevski