Martinez leads Clippers to 5-1 win over Red Wings
COLUMBUS- The 77 degree weather was not the only pleasant thing at Huntington Park on Saturday. Led by right-hander Joe Martinez’s astounding performance, the Columbus Clippers downed the Rochester Red Wings 5-1 in the second game of the series.
Martinez came into the game searching for his first victory of the year and did that plus more. In his longest outing of the year, the right-hander tossed 7.2 innings of shutout baseball, allowing just six hits on 102 pitches and striking out a pair.
“It was a strong outing for him,” manager Chris Tremie said. “I’m sure he’s pleased with his performance and he should be. He threw the ball well and 7.2 shutout innings is pretty difficult to do. He’s been solid for us all year.”
The Clipper bats were not too shabby either. The offense combined for 13 hits, 11 of which were singles.
Four players had a multi-hit game. Third baseman Ryan Rohlinger and right fielder Matt Carson each had three base knocks, while first baseman Matt LaPorta and center fielder Tim Fedroff each had two hits.
Tremie said the key to the offense on Friday was the opposite-field hitting.
“I mean, they just did a good job going the other way.” Tremie said. “A lot of our hits were the other way. A couple balls in, we pulled. We just had a good approach all night.”
Although it is early for LaPorta, playing in just his second game of the season after coming off hip surgery, he has showed no signs of rust thus far. The power-hitter went 2-for-4 on the night with a homerun (2) and three RBI.
Coincidentally, LaPorta’s two-run bomb got the ball rolling for the Clippers in the bottom of the first inning.
Third baseman Ryan Rohlinger scorched a liner up the middle to start things off. Designated hitter Jeremy Hermida then grounded a ball to first baseman Chris Colabello who tapped the bag and then threw to second but his throw was offline and the runner was called safe.
LaPorta followed by blasting a two-run shot to left to put Columbus on top 2-0.
The Clippers added to their lead with a three-run fifth inning to go up 5-0.
Center fielder Tim Fedroff lead off the bottom of the fifth with a single up the gut. Three consecutive singles by Rohlinger, Hermida, and LaPorta brought in two more runs. In the next at-bat, second baseman Cord Phelps grounded out to first but another errant throw by Cabello, this time to home plate, cost the Red Wings another run.
Columbus had a golden opportunity to tack on insurance runs in the sixth but were unable to capitalize. Catcher Omir Santos reached for a ball on the outside of the plate to single into left field. Fedroff followed by doubling over center fielder Clete Thomas’ head to put runners on second and third with one out. Rohlinger, 3-for-3 at the time, then grounded out to third and Hermida flew out to left to end the inning.
Martinez ran into a scare in the top of the sixth after back-to-back misplays by left fielder Cedric Hunter.
Designated hitter Jeff Clement smacked a ball to Hunter who dropped it for an error. Thomas then skied a fly ball to left that fell just out of the reach of Hunter’s glove.
With two-runners on and no outs, Martinez was saved by some crafty defense. Rohlinger fielded a grounder off the bat of Colabello, stepped on third for the force out and then threw to second to complete the double play. Martinez then got Thomas to fly out to right to come out of the inning unscathed.
Right-hander Fernando Nieve came on in the eighth with two down to relieve Martinez. Reliever Jerry Gil appeared in the ninth to close out the game and gave up the only run of the contest.
The Clippers bullpen has been dominant all year. Coming into Friday, they were third in the International League with a 2.82 earned-run average.
Tremie said he believes that his relief pitchers have what it takes to maintain their high-level of play throughout the season.
“They come in and throw strikes, pound the zone.” Tremie said. “If they keep going at hitters with the stuff they have, they’re going to have success all year.”
Rochester’s Kyle Gibson (1-4, 4.26 ERA) took the loss after surrendering five runs on 11 hits in 4.2 innings of work.
With their first win in the series, Columbus avoids falling to .500 and advances to 15-13 while the Red Wings drop to 11-17.
Right-hander Toru Murata (0-1, 6.00 ERA) will make his second start for the Clippers in game three of the series and will be up against Red Wings righty Liam Hendriks (0-2, 4.86 ERA). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Saturday.
I wish this guy the best. Seems like a decent guy who has battled some injuries and maybe some early pressure to live up to that trade.