Clippers Return to Columbus with Thrilling 6-4 Win
Returning to Columbus Monday night after a more than weeklong road stint, the Clippers (14-15) took on the Rochester Red Wings (16-13) on a beautiful, but brisk, Dime-A-Dog night at Huntington Park.
After losing their first four games of the 2014 season, and winning just one of their first seven, the Clippers bounced back a bit with a relatively strong second half of April, before dropping the previous two games heading into Monday night. Columbus broke their two game skid by beating Rochester 6-4 in the opener of the four game series, bringing their overall record to 14-15, still good enough for second place in the West division of the International League.
Tyler Cloyd got the start for Columbus Monday, giving up four runs in five innings.
Columbus got the scoring started in the bottom of the fourth inning when, after a Carlos Moncrief single and a Ryan Rohlinger double, Matt Carson put a streaking grounder down the third base line that scored both Moncrief and Rohlinger. The next batter, Roberto Perez, continued the momentum when he doubled to drive Carson in for the 3-0 Columbus lead.
However, in the top of the fifth, a Justin Sellers error on a would-be double play, followed by a walked batter, left the bases loaded for Rochester. One batter later, James Beresford homered over the right field wall to make it 4-3 Rochester. After two more runners got on base for the Red Wings, a fantastic 3-6-1 double play finally got the Clippers out of the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Giovanny Urshela, who replaced Rohlinger in the fifth inning, singled and then advanced to second on an Audy Ciriaco bunt, putting him in scoring position. Urshela moved on to third when a stinging Carson grounder bounced off the glove of Red Wings third baseman Doug Bernier, bringing Perez to bat with one out and runners at the corners. A high bouncing Perez grounder to the pitcher was enough for Urshela to score, tying the game at 4-4. The Clippers threatened again when Carson stole third base and Tim Fedroff walked, but the inning came to an end when Justin Sellers grounded out.
Nick Hagadone, who came on in relief for Cloyd, pitched two scoreless innings before Mike Zagurski came to the mound to start the eighth inning, retiring the three straight batters he faced.
In the bottom of the eighth, Urshela tripled to start off the inning for Columbus. After a Ciriaco ground out, Carson, who went 3-3 with 4 RBI on the night, homered into the left field stands to give Columbus a 6-4 lead.
Zagurski, who was credited with the win, handed the mound over to Mark Lowe in the ninth. He was able to seal the victory and earn his seventh save of the season for Columbus.
Monday night was a homecoming for former Ohio State Buckeye and Reynoldsburg High School product Eric Fryer, who started at catcher for the Red Wings. Fryer went 1-3 with a run scored in his return to Columbus.
The Red Wings, a Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, had a roster Monday that included eight players who have spent time on Big-League rosters this season. The Clippers, the Cleveland Indians Triple-A team, currently have ten players who have been on Major League rosters this year. Columbus is now without Jose Ramirez, George Kottaras, and Nyjer Morgan, who are the most recent Clippers to be promoted to the Majors this season, after being called up to the Indians in the past couple of days.
The Clippers will play in town for the rest of the week, before going back on the road May 13th for a week.
Some upcoming promotions at Huntington Park include, among others, Buck-A-Bone night May 6th; fifty-cent wing night May 8th; an appearance from Dennis Haskins (Mr. Belding from Saved By The Bell) on May 9th; and a rare weekday daytime game on May 12th, where the opening pitch will take place at 10:35am.
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Information on future games can be found at www.milb.com.