Clippers tripped up by Chiefs, 2-1
COLUMBUS- The Force was not with the Clippers Saturday during Star Wars night at Huntington Park on Saturday night.
In front of 11,446 fans, the largest crowd of the year, Columbus dropped a 2-1 decision to the Syracuse Chiefs in the second extra-inning game of the series.
Each team’s pitching staff was tremendous throughout the game. Syracuse allowed their lone run on five hits and although the Clippers lost, their staff surrendered just three hits.
Starter Danny Salazar, along with relief pitchers Jerry Gil, Matt Langwell and Preston Guilmet, combined for the three-hitter. If it weren’t for consecutive walks in the tenth inning by Guilmet, the outcome may have been different.
But after two pitching fiascos in the previous games in the series, the pitching performance was welcoming for manager Chris Tremie.
“Danny started with his four innings and was very impressive,” Tremie said. “That’s a positive for us, Columbus and also for Cleveland. Our bullpen did a great job., they pitched well. Langwell gave up the home run but other than that he threw the ball well. Guilmet had a nice outing but unfortunately it didn’t work out. There could have been a couple things that went a different way but you know, it is what it is.”
Salazar was spectacular in his short-lived outing. The right-hander tossed four no-hit innings with four strikeouts and one walk on just 45 pitches. Due to soreness in his throwing arm the prospect was limited to a low pitch count prior to the game. The glimpse the right-hander showed however was a good sign for the Clippers.
“When he’s healthy and doing what he can do, that’s what you saw tonight,” manager Chris Tremie said.
The Chiefs’ Ross Ohlendorf baffled the Clippers offense for the majority of his outing. In the 5.1 innings he pitched, the right-hander allowed just one run on four hits, with 11 strikeouts and four walks. His only run came on an RBI base hit by left fielder Tim Fedroff in the fifth inning.
“He showed a good fastball tonight, a good breaking ball was hard to pick up,” Tremie said. “Obviously you could tell by some of our swings and talking to our hitters. Sometimes you run into that guy and sometimes you just have to try to battle through it. We did. We had a lead, scratched out a run but just came up short.”
Columbus had several opportunities with runners in scoring position in the early going but could not figure out a way to knock them in.
Center fielder Ezequiel Carrera lead off the bottom of the first with a double that hit just a few inches below the yellow line on the right field wall. However, Ohlendorf managed to strikeout the next two hitters and got first baseman Matt LaPorta to groundout to third to end the scoring threat.
Then, in the bottom of fourth, LaPorta was drilled in left arm to get on first and two batters later, third baseman Ryan Rohlinger smacked a line drive single up the middle. But again, Ohlendorf kept his composure and retired the following Clippers to get out of the jam.
Columbus finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth thanks to the hustle of Carrera. With one out, “Zeke” was issued a walk and Fedroff followed by dropping a soft single into right center. Carrera blazed around the bases to score all the way from first and give the Clippers a 1-0 lead.
Langwell surrendered a solo shot to right fielder Chris Rahl in the top of the eighth inning to even the score. The home run was the first given up by Langwell since Sept 5, 2011. The reliever faced 475 batters in that time span.
After walking the first two batters in the top of the tenth, Guilmet came back to retire the next two hitters. But the closer coughed up an RBI single to center fielder Eury Perez that brought the go-ahead run home.
The Clippers fall to 28-21 with the defeat and the Chiefs improve to 21-27
The Clippers and Chiefs will wrap up their series with a 6:05 p.m. game Sunday. Right-hander Joe Martinez (1-2, 4.97 ERA) is slated to start for Columbus and Syracuse will challenge with fellow righty Chris Young (1-2, 7.26 ERA).
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