Clippers fall in pitching duel 2-1
Matsuzaka strikes out eight in loss
MOOSIC, PA – The Columbus Clippers bats came up short to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders Tuesday night as the team fell 2-1 in what was the first of eight straight road games for the Clippers.
Tuesday night showcased a pitching duel between the Clippers right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka and RailRiders right-handed pitcher Dellin Betances.
Matsuzaka had his best outing of the season as he pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed just three hits and two earn runs. Matsuzaka also added eight strikeouts to his stat line. On the RailRiders mound, 6-foot-8-inch Betances went seven innings and only gave up three hits and one run. Betances also struck out seven Clippers to pick-up his first win of the season (1-2).
Clippers Manager Chris Tremie said that he believed the weather could have played a factor in the improved performance by Matsuzaka.
"I think he commanded the ball a lot better tonight than in his previous outing," said Tremie. "He really looked good, located his fastball well, and did have a good curveball, some good change-ups — very good outing for him."
Despite the positive performance, Matsuzaka was saddled with his second loss of the year (0-2) and added two more walks to his league-leading statistic — Matsuzaka leads the International league with 18 walks on the year.
The Clippers struck first with back-to-back doubles in the top of the fourth inning. The first double came off the bat of shortstop Luis Hernandez. With Hernandez then in scoring position, second baseman Cord Phelps knocked a double to right field, which brought in Hernandez for the first run of the game.
After not finding much success from the plate, the RailRiders found two of their three hits in the game in the bottom of the second inning. First baseman Corban Joseph started off the inning with a groundball double to center field that was deflected off Clippers second baseman Phelps.
RailRiders right-fielder Thomas Neal then reached first on a fielder's choice play that got Joseph out at third. With one on and two out, RailRiders designated-hitter Dan Johnson homered to right field bring Neal home. The RailRiders took a 2-1 lead.
Besides the two hits in the sixth, the RailRiders only found one other hit in the bottom of the third.
The Clippers later attempted to mount a rally in the top of the ninth.
Hermida reached first on a throwing error committed by RailRiders' shortstop Addison Maruszak. Clippers left-fielder Adam Abraham followed with a single to bring right-fielder Cedric Hunter to the plate. Hunter hit a ground ball to third for a 5-4-3 double play to end the game 2-1.
The RailRiders, who only went 3-for-26 from the plate, took the first of four in their series with the Clippers. The second game will be played on Wednesday morning with the first pitch set to take place at 10:35 am.