Knights trounce Clippers 8-3
House falters as Columbus falls at home
COLUMBUS- Aside from three solo home runs, the Clipper bats struggled against Charlotte pitching as they fell 8-3 to the Knights on Wednesday.
“The first guy went out, had a good changeup and located his fastball well,” manager Chris Tremie said. “He worked fast and did a good job. The bullpen, same thing. Good fastballs and some good off-speed pitches. The guy who closed had a good slider so you know, they mixed it up and kept us off balance.”
Clippers left-hander T.J. House (0-2, 7.88 ERA) lost his second-straight decision after allowing five earned runs on eight hits in six innings of work.
“He just left some balls up today and didn’t command his off-speed stuff as well,” Tremie said. “It wasn’t one of his better outings but he’ll go to work and come back out in five days and do it again.”
Right-hander Zach Stewart (1-4, 4.22 ERA) had a fantastic outing for the Knights. In the six innings he pitched, the righty allowed just one earned run on five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts.
The Knights hung a three-spot in the top of the third inning to grab an early lead.
Center fielder Blake Tekotte swatted a single into right field to start the inning. Second baseman Carlos Sanchez then bounced a ball back to House to advance Tekotte to second. Third baseman Brent Morel followed by smashing a single to third that took a high bounce and sailed into left field for an RBI. Catcher Josh Phegley blasted a two-run home run that cleared left-center field wall to give Charlotte a 3-0 head start
Columbus catcher Omir Santos put Clippers on the board with a solo shot to left in the bottom half of the inning to make the score 3-1.
However, the Knights tallied two more in the fourth to increase their advantage.
After a walk to first baseman Jim Gallagher, right fielder Brandon Short laced a one-hopper to the fence in left. A Tekotte sacrifice fly ball to center allowed Gallagher to tag to put Charlotte up 4-1. Sanchez then roped an RBI double down the left field line that was narrowly fair to bring the score to 5-1.
Charlotte grabbed another run in the top of the seventh off of reliever Jerry Gil to go up 6-1. With one out, Gil issued Morel a free pass and a Viciedo groundout to third allowed him to move to second. Phegley then came through with an RBI double to left field.
But Charlotte was resilient and tacked on an additional run in the bottom of the eighth on a force out to second by Tokette to bring shortstop Steve Tolleson home.
Columbus reliever Matt Langwell pitched the ninth inning and surrendered a leadoff triple off the right field wall to Sanchez. In the next at-bat, Morel lasered a shot up the gut to make it an 8-2 game.
First baseman Matt LaPorta began the bottom of the ninth with bomb to straightaway center for his fourth homer of the season, but that was all the Clippers could muster in their final attempt to come back from the deficit.
Outfielder Ezequiel Carrera joined the Columbus Wednesday after being designated for assignment for the third time this season. Carrera was designated for assignment by Cleveland at the end of spring training and was picked up on waivers by the Philadelphia on April 2.
After hitting just .077 in 13 at-bats for the Phillies was put on waivers again and reclaimed by the Indians on May 2. Three days later, he was designated for assignment again and outrighted to Columbus on May 7.
“It’s been a little random for him since spring training but he’s a good player,” Tremie said. “It might take a few games to get locked-in but I’m looking from a lot of good things from him.”
In his first game back with the Clippers, Carrera, playing left field, went 0-4 with two strikeouts.
Tremie said he is excited to have “Zeke” back with the team.
“He’s havoc on the bases,” Tremie said. “He’s an on-base percentage guy with a little pop and has good at-bats. When he gets on base, he makes things happen. Not only stolen bases but being able to go from first to third and score and making defenders have to rush things which leads to mistakes. He’s an asset.”
Cleveland center fielder Michael Bourn did not fare any better in his second rehab game. The leadoff hitter also went hitless in four at-bats and struck out once.
The Clippers fall to 17-16 with the loss while the Knights improve to 12-22.
Columbus and Charlotte are set to wrap up their four-game series Thursday at 11:35 a.m. Right-hander Joe Martinez (1-2, 2.55) will be on the bump for the Clippers and face off against Charlotte right-hander Andre Rienzo (2-2, 6.82).
Ethan can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter @ethanjday