Clippers clobber Mud Hens 10-3
Carrasco solid in return to Columbus
COLUMBUS- An all-out offensive assault of seven extra-base hits lead the Clipper to a 10-3 beat down of the Toledo Mud Hens Thursday.
Columbus manager Chris Tremie was pleased to see the productivity of his lineup from top to bottom. All but two batters collected at least one hit in the affair.
“Up and down the lineup just about everybody contributed in some way,” Tremie said. “We were able to move runners early and get them in. We were able to put multiple hits together and also base running too, advancing extra bases three or four times which allowed us to score runs quicker than we would have had we stayed at first base or at second base.”
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (3-0, 3.29 ERA) was solid in his first start since being optioned from Cleveland on July 7. After pitching phenomenally through the first third of the game, a rough fourth inning knocked the starter of course a bit and forced him to exit the game early in the sixth inning. Overall, the righty tossed 5.1 innings, allowing three runs on four hits with eight strikeouts and two walks.
“He looked really good the first time through the lineup,“ Tremie said. “I think that he left a couple pitches up. You know, a 3-2 count to a good hitter who hit an opposite-field home run. With a runner at second and a base open, he left a changeup up with the wind kin of blowing out of the park. But for him to be able to bounce back and get out of the inning and then come back and pitch another solid inning, that was key for him. He should build on that.”
Reliever Bryan Price replaced Carrasco and pitched the remaining 3.2 frames to earn his first save of the year. Tremie said that Price is becoming one of the most reliable arms in the Clippers bullpen.
“He’s been really good his last few outings for sure,” Tremie said. “That’s what he’s capable of doing. He went out there and went right at them. What can I say? It was really good.”
Columbus had the chance to wreck some havoc in the bottom half of the first after loading the bases but wound up with only a run to show for it. Batting in the two hole for the first time this season, left fielder Ezequiel Carrera cracked a long single off the right field wall. First baseman Chun-Hsiu Chen was then hit by a pitched a that ran too far inside and designated hitter Jeremy Hermida dropped a bloop base hit into center to fill up the bases. Right fielder Matt Carson followed by lifting a sacrifice fly to right for the lone run of the inning.
The Clippers redeemed their missed opportunity with a duo of runs in the very next inning. Catcher Roberto Perez smoked a one-out RBI double down the base line to score third baseman Nate Spears all the way from first. Two batters later, Carrera smashed a hard groundball of third baseman Mike Cervanek’s leg to bring Perez home for another run.
Carrasco was on cruise control through the first three frames of work, going nine up and nine down with five strikeouts. The wheels began to fall off for Carrasco in the top of the fourth when he surrendered two home runs to tie the game at three runs each.
The first hit allowed by Carrasco came off the bat of center fielder Avisail Garcia who launched a solo shot to center. Designated hitter Ben Guez laced a sharp grounder to third on the next play. Spears tried to backhand the ball but it deflected off the heel of his glove to put the runner on. Later with two outs, right fielder Danny Dorn crushed a towering two-run blast to straight away to even the score 3-3.
However, the tide turned back in the Clippers favor with a some two-out magic and a few defensive lapses by Toledo in the bottom of the fifth. With one down, Chen whipped a two-bagger down the left field line. An out later, Carson bounced a ball up the middle which glanced off of shortstop Argenis Diaz’s glove to score Chen. Shortstop Juan Diaz struck out in the next at-bat but the ball slipped past catcher Bryan Holaday and rolled all the way to the backstop. Holaday attempted to throw out Juan Diaz at first but the ball hit the shortstop square in the back and simultaneously allowing another run to cross home plate.
Second baseman Ryan Rohlinger reached on bobbled grounder by Argenis Diaz and then Spears capped off the inning with a rocket three-run shot onto the right field balcony to make it a 8-3 game.
"Quiet early on, Spears has been heating up as of late and Tremie is starting to see the infielder get back into a groove.
“Some of his early struggles when he got her I’d probably attribute to just the amount of playing time he had and with the injury he had coming out of spring training,“ Tremie said. “Then rehabbing and getting back the first couple months I don’t think he was game ready. Now that he’s kind of got back into game mode we’re seeing what he can do. It was a big three-run homer for him today and it kind of sealed the game at the time.”
Former Tiger closer Jose Valverde appeared in the bottom of the eighth and the Clippers greeted him with an additional pair of runs. Spears lead off with an opposite-field double down left-field line and Carrera followed by ripping an RBI triple into the right field corner. Chen roped his second double of the contest to deep center to put Columbus on top 10-3.
The loss was issued to reliever Matt Hoffman of Toledo (4-3, 2.60 ERA) and the win improves the Clippers record to 43-52 on the year.
Columbus will send right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-5, 5.01 ERA) to the hill on Friday to close out the brief two-game series with the Mud Hens. Toledo left-hander Kyle Lobstein (1-1, 4.80 ERA) will take the mound on the opposing side. The first pitch is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start.
Ethan can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter @ethanjday