Sweep Gives Columbus Clippers Division Lead
The floundering Columbus Clippers offense found its sea legs over the weekend as the club swept the Louisville Bats in a four-game series to take the division lead in the International League West. The Clippers dominated the Bats offensively, outscoring them 33-11 and outhitting them 54-25. Columbus had 15 extra base hits, five home runs while Louisville had only four extra base hits with one home run.
The Columbus Clippers had their best offensive performance of the season in the series opener posting an 11-1 victory. The Clippers hammered out 15 hits in the win as all nine starters had at least one hit.
Shaun Marcum (2-0, 1.50) won his second game of the season and Louisville’s Dylan Axelrod (1-1, 2.89) was the loser. Marcum allowed five hits and one run over seven innings; he struck out seven and walked one.
James Ramsey put the Clippers on top 1-0 with his third home run of the season in the home half of the second inning. Columbus extended the lead to 2-0 on Adam Moore’s two out double to right that plated Carlos Moncrief, who walked earlier in the inning.
Ramsey was the catalyst for the Clippers third run in the fourth inning. The DH reached first on a bunt, stole second and took third on catcher Kyle Skipworth’s throwing error. Carlos Moncrief singled to score Ramsey.
Toledo made the score 3-1 in the top of the fifth inning on back-to-back doubles from Eugenio Suarez and Ivan De Jesus Jr.
Giovanny Urshela made a splash in his season debut with the Clippers; a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning extended their lead to 4-1. Urshela, on the DL since Spring Training, was expected to challenge Lonnie Chisenhall for the starting job at third base in Cleveland.
In the same inning following and Adam Moore walk and Ryan Rohlinger single Francisco Lindor smashed a two-run double to put Columbus up 6-1.
Ten Clippers came to the plate in the five run eighth as the victory was sealed. The big blows were a Jesus Aguilar double and Zack Walters triple.
Urshela, Lindor, Moore and Tyler Holt had multiple hits in the game.
Columbus continued the offensive onslaught in the second game as they overcame an early Louisville lead to outlast the Bats 11-7. As they did in their first win, Columbus put the game away with another offensive outburst in the eighth inning, scoring six runs.
Nick Swisher, who started in right field, joined the Clippers on a rehab assignment and made the most of it, hitting three singles in five at bats while driving in a run.
Several other Clippers had good offensive efforts. Lindor scored three runs and was four-for-five at the plate, Aguilar had a double and home run, Holt was three-for-four with a double, Destin Hood had a pair of hits and Audy Ciriaco was two-for-five with three runs batted in.
Columbus starter Toru Murata staked the Bats to a 4-0 in the opening inning on three walks and a pair of singles. Murata was chased after three innings. Giovanni Soto and Jeff Manship held the bats scoreless over five innings as the Clippers chipped away at the lead.
It didn’t take long for Columbus to get on the board as they cut the lead 4-2 in the bottom of the first. Lindor and Swisher opened with back-to-back singles, Aguilar doubled home Lindor and advanced Swisher to third, who then scored on Holt’s ground ball out.
Lindor added a run in the third when he scored on a double play ball hit by Aguilar; the Clippers were within a run, 4-3.
Aguilar led-off the fifth with a solo homer, his third of the season, to tie the game. Moore’s RBI single scored Holt and gave the Clippers their first lead of the game, 5-4.
As in the previous night, ten Clippers batted in the eighth inning as they scored six runs on five hits and a pair of walks to take an 11-4 lead to the ninth.
Louisville was able to score three runs off reliever Dustin Molleken before the righty was able to close out the game. Molleken struggled for second consecutive appearance; he allowed five runs on six hits in the last two innings he worked.
Soto (2-0, 0.00) won the game and Michael Lorenzen (2-1, 2.84) was the loser. Soto worked 2 2/3 innings and struck out five while allowing one hit and one walk.
Rainy weather on Saturday forced the postponement of game three and forced the Clippers into their third seven-inning double header of the young season on Sunday. The 11:30 am Sunday start saw the Clippers put together good offense with good pitching as they won their third straight game 7-1 on a complete game 3-hitter from Bruce Chen (2-1, 1.08).
The only run Chen allowed was a solo home run to Bats’ centerfielder Ryan LaMarre to open the game, LaMarre also singled in the sixth. Ivan De Jesus, Jr. got the Bats only other hit in the fourth inning, a single to right field.
Chen didn’t issue a walk and struck out five. He threw 89 pitches, 59 for strikes.
Columbus managed double-digit hits for the third consecutive game (13) and they put up crooked numbers in three innings as they had to come from behind yet again.
A double from Urshela and a pair of singles from Holt and Moore gave the Clippers a 2-1 lead after two innings. All three players had two hits in the game. Two solo home runs, back-to-back shots by Moncrief and Moore, in the bottom of the fifth inning gave the Clippers a 4-1 lead. Columbus finished scoring in the sixth as nine hitters accounted for three runs with five hits and one walk. Moncrief finished with three RBI and Moore had two.
The Clippers took the night cap of the twin-bill 4-2 in another comeback effort. Michael Roth (1-0, 3.38) won his first game of the season and Shawn Armstrong earned save number five. Roth allowed both Louisville runs in five innings of work, he gave up six hits and struck out two and walked two.
Louisville did all their scoring in the first inning on a two-RBI double off the bat of Chris Dominguez that scored Suarez and De Jesus Jr.
Columbus went to the long ball early when Aguilar ripped his fourth homer of the season in the bottom of the first inning off Bats’ starter Matt Magill. Swisher was on first when the right-handed DH powered the ball over the center field wall evening the game, 2-2.
Clippers’ second baseman Michael Martinez clobbered his second home run of the season in the fourth inning; the solo shot gave Columbus a 3-2 lead.
The home team added an insurance run in the fifth as Walters reached on a one-out double and scored on a Destin Hood single.
Louisville (6-10) heads home for a quick three games with the Indianapolis Indians, the Clippers (10-7), who lead the division, hit the road for seven games with Rochester and Syracuse.
By Mike Tanchevski