Masterson, Clippers fall to Tides at home, 5-2
Columbus could only muster two runs, despite registering 9 hits.
COLUMBUS, OH – The Columbus Clippers (57-51) ran into a buzz saw on Friday night by the name of the Norfolk Tides (49-58). Norfolk used two run producing innings and a solid start from Mike Wright to hold down the Clippers for a 5-2 win at Huntington Park in front of a packed house of 10,802.
But the game completely changed in the fourth for Masterson. After issuing another leadoff walk, this time to Quinton Berry, Jimmy Parades put Norfolk in the hit column with a double to right.
It looked like the Clippers had caught a break. But the next hitter, Christian Walker, hit a sacrifice fly to right that took Moncrief close to the warning track. Steve Clevenger gave the Tides the lead for good with a single to right.
“He threw some really good sinkers,” Clippers manager Chris Tremie said. “At times the ball was going well for him. At times, he yanked a few pitches. He threw some balls that he didn’t command as well as I’m sure he wanted to. But, overall, I thought it was a strong outing.”
Norfolk blew it open in the seventh thanks to a couple of free passes issued by Masterson. After getting former Clipper Cord Phelps on a groundout to first, Masterson walked Ivan De Jesus. Brian Ward followed with a single to center.
It looked like Masterson may have avoided any damage after Julio Borbon popped out to short, but Masterson issued his second walk of the inning to Quinton Berry.
Manager Chris Tremie went to C.C. Lee with the bases loaded. Lee’s first pitch was a wild one that allowed De Jesus to score from third. But the big damage came off the bat of Jimmy Parades who looped a ball into left that scored the remaining runners and gave Norfolk a comfortable 5-1 lead.
“He walked a couple in the seventh and then really the bloop base hit,” Tremie said. “The inning could have been very different.”
Masterson walked six batters, struggling with his control, particularly after the fourth inning.
“I didn’t see any of his pitches as being a problem for him (to control),” Tremie said. “He was working on certain things and trying to do some things that he wanted to do to keep the ball down. He was successful most of the time. He ran into trouble in the seventh and his pitch count was up a little bit.”
The Clippers strung together three hits in the second inning to produce the game’s first run off of Tides starter Mike Wright (2-9, 6.16). Carlos Moncrief and Matt Carson collected back-to-back one out hits. Ryan Rohlinger drove in Moncrief with a third single.
The Clippers collected two more hits in the second, but couldn’t come up with the big hit to add on some insurance. They were held hitless until Matt Carson hit a no-doubter to left, his eighth home run of the year, in the seventh to cut the lead to three.
He hit another one to center that Julio Borbon robbed off the top of the wall in the ninth off of closer Evan Meek. Meek closed out the game for his ninth save.
The Clippers and Norfolk resume their four-game-series with the second installment on Saturday night at 7:05 PM at Huntington Park.
Elliot Johnson (left quad strain) was activated off the disabled list before the game and started in left field. In the corresponding roster move, the Clippers returned Toru Murata (1-2, 5.26) to Double-A Akron.
Lefty T.J. House (1-3, 3.20) will start Saturday night’s game for the Clippers. House last pitched on Monday night for Cleveland. It will be his first start for the Clippers since June 24 at Buffalo. He pitched 3.1 shutout innings, but his night came to an abrupt end because of rain.
With two outs in the eighth inning, Jesus Aguilar laced a bullet off the right-centerfield wall. On the throw in from Borbon, it appeared that his foot slipped off the bag and caused him to do the splits falling off the bag. He was tagged out to end the inning. He did not come out of the ballgame. Chris Tremie said after the game that he came out of the play healthy.
Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.