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Clippers swept by Indians, lose finale 8-3

Clippers swept by Indians, lose finale 8-3
Photo credit: Sam Greene
April 6, 2014
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Tyler Cloyd’s debut with the Clippers (0-4) was a forgettable one as the Indianapolis Indians (4-0) completed the four-game sweep of the Clippers to begin the season. The Indians beat the Clippers 8-3 on Sunday afternoon in front of 6,735 people at Huntington Park.  

Cloyd was in trouble early and often, but the wheels came off in the third inning. Michael Martinez led off the inning with a single to center, which was followed by an infield single to short by Gregory Polanco.  Andrew Lambo advanced both runners bouncing out to first. That’s when the Indians struck gold; back-to-back doubles by Brent Morel and Chris McGuiness plated three runs, while Jaff Decker singled in another.

More trouble for Cloyd occurred in the fourth. Chris Dickerson led off with a double into the left field corner.  After striking out Martinez, Cloyd served up a towering two-run home run off the bat of Polanco that bounced off the roof of the Wendy’s Balcony in right.  One out later, Morel ended Cloyd’s day with a soft liner to right. Scott Barnes took over from there and was helped out by a diving play made by Ryan Rohlinger to take a hit away from McGuiness to end the inning.

When all was said and done for Cloyd, he gave up seven runs, six of them earned on 11 hits, a walk and three strikeouts.  

“It was his first outing. He threw the ball well at times. He just fell behind in the count a few times, trying to locate. He missed his spots a little bit, not by much,” Clippers manager Chris Tremie said. “He really threw the ball very well, it’s just unfortunate that results were the way they were, but he just made a couple of mistakes in the middle of the plate and that hurt him today. He’s gonna bounce back and be fine.”

It wasn’t all bad news for the Clippers. Jesus Aguilar led the way offensively, hitting his first home run of the year off the foul pole in right in the fourth against Indians starter Adam Wilk.  In the sixth, Aguilar just missed another and had to settle for a double.  He would later sscore off a Carlos Moncrief single.  

“He really swung the bat well and didn’t go out of the zone chasing pitches.” Tremie said of Aguilar.

The Indians were just too much for Cloyd and company today.  They struck first in the second inning when Cloyd surrendered a leadoff walk to McGuiness. Cloyd got Decker to ground to second to start a 4-6-3 double play, but Aguilar bobbled the catch for an error. The bobble appeared to happen on the transfer from Aguilar’s glove to his hand to throw the ball around the infield, but umpire Seth Buckminster saw it differently and made the safe call. The Indians made the Clippers pay one out later when Blake Davis drove Decker in with a double into the right field corner for an early 1-0 lead.

Unfortunately for the Clippers, most of their rallies happened with two outs.  In the sixth, with two outs, Aguilar doubled to right field. Moncrief knocked him in with a single to right.  It was at that point that the Indians went to their bullpen. Andy Oliver took over and issued a free pass to Rohlinger, but the Clippers could not add on. David Cooper grounded to Davis who stepped on second to end the threat. 

In the ninth, the Clippers appeared to be going down without a fight, but again they rallied with two outs. After Matt Carson worked a walk, Roberto Perez brought him home with a double to right. Jose Ramirez kept their slim hopes alive with a single and Perez was held at third. In the next at bat, Justin Sellers flew out softly to center to end the threat and the game.

“It’s the sign of a good team, good hitters, good offensive players,” said Tremie.  “When you can string together stuff with two outs that’s going to be beneficial to us down the road and when we can get guys on earlier and getting those hits with runners on, we can score a lot of runs.”

With one series in the books, the Clippers will turn the attention to another interdivisional rival when the Louisville Bats (Reds) come to town for a three-game series.  The series begins on Monday at 6:35 and should be a packed house thanks to Dime-a-Dog night, a promotional favorite in Columbus.

The Clippers will send right-hander Travis Barnwart to the mound.  Barnwart was 10-5, with a 4.60 ERA in 29 games (23 starts) with Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League last year.  Louisville (2-1) will counter with a newcomer of their own, David Holmberg.  He made his major league debut last year with the Arizona Diamondbacks (his only appearance) and went 5-8 with a 2.75 ERA in 26 games (all starts) and one complete game with Double-A Mobile.

Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.

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