Frazier Homers, Captains and Clippers Win in Wednesday Playoff Action
Laurel Wilder | On 04, Sep 2014
Captains Clip Silver Hawks in Three Game Series; Captains 6, Silver Hawks 2
They looked like a new team on the field Wednesday night in Eastlake, and with good reason. The Lake County Captains, who finished last in the Midwest League, delivered a game filled with hard hits, good defense, and strong pitching, to earn a 6-2 win in the first of their three-game playoff series against the South Bend Silver Hawks. They were propelled to victory by some of the newest members of the Indians organization, including first-round draft picks of this year and last.
The Captains, 38-31 in the second half, faced the Silver Hawks, who finished the second half leading the Midwest League Eastern Division at 43-27. Mitch Brown (8-8, 3.31) was matched against South Bend’s Anthony Banda, who started the season with the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization and pitched for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers before being traded to the Diamondbacks and moving to the Silver Hawks in August. Banda was 6-6 with a 3.66 ERA with the Timber Rattlers and is 3-0 with the Silver Hawks, boasting a 1.54 ERA in six starts since the move. He is 9-6, 3.03 overall on the season.
Andrew Velazquez started things off early for South Bend with a single to the gap in left field, but was thrown out by Sicnarf Loopstok while stealing second base. Mike Papi gave the Captains their first hit of the game in the bottom of the second, though a double play ended the inning with no score. With Loopstock on second after a walk and sacrifice bunt from Claudio Bautista, Clint Frazier delivered a home run deep to left field and gave the Captains a two-run lead in the bottom of the third.
South Bend sought redemption in the top of the fifth as their right fielder Justin Williams led off with a double and stole third, then scored on a ground ball from Jamie Westbrook. Brown worked out of the inning without allowing further damage to be done and keeping the Silver Hawks trailing the Captains 2-1.
Frazier started the bottom of the fifth with a hard double to right field that sent Ivan Castillo to third with no outs. Fearing his power, Banda intentionally walked Nellie Rodriguez, loading the bases with no outs. The move did not work to the Silver Hawks’ advantage, though, as Banda balked in a run to give the Captains a 3-1 lead.
Silver Hawks Manager Mark Haley said he and pitching coach Doug Bochtler had asked for time when Banda stepped out of his windup, though the umpires did not recognize the request, resulting in the balk.
“It was unfortunate [for South Bend],” Haley said after the game, saying that the balk came at a critical time and opened up the game for the Captains.
Brown pitched into the sixth inning when he was replaced by Robbie Aviles. Brown, arguably the most improved player on the Captains’ roster this second half, left allowing three hits, walking two, and striking out six in 5.2 innings.
A single from Westbrook in the bottom of the seventh drove in a run for South Bend, shortening the Captains lead to 3-2. It did not remain close for long, though, as Bradley Zimmer delivered a triple that scored Castillo and Frazier in the bottom of the seventh. It was followed by a base hit up the middle from Rodriguez, boosting the Captains up 6-2 over South Bend as he retired the side.
“Winning at home is huge,” Manager Mark Budzinski said of the win after the game. He said the game played out close to exactly what he and pitching coach Rigo Beltran had scripted prior to the start, based on their knowledge of Brown’s capabilities.
Brown, whose pitch count was at 90 on the night, threw 86 pitches. He said he felt few nerves during the game, saying the playoff game had a “different feel” that gave him an adrenaline rush throughout his outing.
“All my pitches were working at some point,” Brown said. “It was huge to stop further damage in the top of the fifth. We played well and put them in a hole.”
Frazier echoed the importance of the evening’s win for the team. “It was very positive for the team. We showed why we deserve to be in the playoffs,” the center fielder said.
Frazier also said his home run was of major importance, as he hadn’t felt that he had been up to usual performance at the plate. “I didn’t have my numbers of home runs or usual pulls down the line,” Frazier said. “It was nice to see that I could finally do that here.”
“Our confidence is sky-high,” Frazier said of the team. “We’re playing good, fundamental baseball.”
Budzinski agreed. “We’ve been this confident all year, but just haven’t shown it until now,” the manager said. “The confidence level, work ethic, and attitude are all here.”
The Captains will continue this best-of-three series in South Bend Thursday night, featuring a matchup of Anderson Polanco (3-0, 1.95) for the Captains and Blake Perry (9-6, 4.21) for the Silver Hawks. Should they emerge the victors of the series, they will return to Classic Park this weekend for the next three-game playoff series.
Clippers Sail to Opening Win; Clippers 9, Bulls 4
By Ryan Hohman
Welcome to Columbus, David Murphy, also known as Hustle City.
In town for a two game rehab assignment, the veteran Indians right fielder hit a two-run home run in his first at bat to set the pace for a game that was defined by numerous hustle plays and players just having fun.
Matt Carson and James Ramsey also homered and starter Kyle Davies pitched six strong innings to lead the Columbus Clippers to a 9-4 victory over the Durham Bulls in game one of the Governors’ Cup semi-finals.
“There’s a pretty special thing about this club right now,” Columbus manager Chris Tremie said. They have fun playing and it’s important.”
Davies struck out nine Durham batters in a winning performance, allowing just three runs on six hits.
Francisco Lindor (3 hits) led off the game with a single to left before Murphy lifted the third pitch he saw over the right field wall to give the Clippers an early 2-0 advantage.
Murphy hasn’t appeared in a game with Cleveland since being placed on the disabled list on August 10 with a strained oblique. Prior to the injury, the 32-year-old was batting .262 with seven home runs and 55 RBIs in 109 games.
Matt Carson (2-3, HR, 3 Runs) had a big game. His first hit of the night, a solo home run to left center, extended Columbus’ lead to 3-0 in the second inning.
Wilson Betemit opened the third for Durham with a double down the right field line and then came around to score on Ali Solis’ to single to right to make it 3-1. Murphy’s fielding error allowed Solis to advance to second on the play. With a runner on second and no outs, Davies fought back and retired the next three batters to prevent further damage.
Durham starter Alex Colome walked the bases loaded in the third, but the Clippers were unable to take advantage when Colome got designated hitter Audy Ciriaco to ground into an inning ending double play.
In the fourth, Carson and Justin Sellers (3-4, RBI) hit back-to-back one-out singles to give the home team runners on first and second for Luke Carlin (1-4, 3 RBI). The Columbus catcher hit what looked to be a sure double play ball to third baseman Cole Figueroa. But a hard slide into second by Sellers and an all-out hustle from Carlin beat the throw. Just as the umpire signaled safe, Carson rounded third base full steam ahead for the dish. First baseman Betemit’s throw was wide and the Clippers moved ahead 4-1.
“Playing the game the right way,” Tremie said. “Hustling, playing hard, and putting pressure on the defense. That’s what we do and it’s worked out well for us.”
C.J. Riefenhauser came on in relief of Colome in the sixth. In five innings of work, Coleme was charged with four runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out two.
Carlos Moncrief replaced David Murphy in right field in the sixth. Murphy finished the night 1-3 with a home run and two RBIs.
Later that inning, the Bulls used a Jeremy Moore two-run home run to trim the Clippers’ lead to 4-3. Mikie Mahtook led off the frame with a single to center before Moore cleared the bases with one big swing.
The Clippers roared back in the bottom of the sixth. Ramsey (2-4, HR, 2 RBI) singled and Carson walked to bring Sellers to the plate with one out. Sellers stroked a single to center to score Ramsey and make it 5-3.
Once again Carlin found himself at the plate with Carson and Sellers on base. And just like the first time around, Carlin came through big – this time with a two-run double to right to put Columbus up 7-3. Both Carson and Sellers turned on their jets and were separated by just a few feet, if that, as they crossed the plate.
“I read that one pretty good,” Sellers said. “I felt like it was going to get down and Carson did the right thing because you have to tag there if he does catch it. You have to get back.”
Tyler Sturdevant relieved Davies and pitched a scoreless seventh. Shawn Armstrong, Scott Barnes, and Mark Lowe rounded out pitching duties for the Clippers.
In the seventh, Ramsey extended Columbus’ lead to 9-3 with a two-run home run over the tall porch in right.
The Bulls got one back in the ninth on a RBI fielder’s choice by Betemit.
“Game one is always the biggest game to get I believe,” Sellers said. “Going into game two we’ve got the momentum, so we’re just going to go out and do what we do. Play hard, have fun, and hopefully take the series.”
Game two of this Governors’ Cup best-of-five semi-final series with Durham is tonight at Huntington Park. Tyler Cloyd (10-8, 3.89) will take the mound for the Clippers against Bulls’ southpaw Enny Romero (5-11, 4.50). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm ET.
RubberDucks Lose in Extras; Flying Squirrels 3, RubberDucks 2
Courtesy of Akron RubberDucks
An 11th inning RBI double by Richmond’s Angel Villalona proved to be the difference-maker in Akron’s playoff opener at Canal Park Wednesday night as the Flying Squirrels captured a 3-2 win over the RubberDucks.
The Flying Squirrels (1-0) now lead the best-of-five Western Division Series one game to none heading into Thursday’s second game, also slated for Canal Park, at 6:35 p.m. In the East, Binghamton claimed an 8-5 win over Portland on a walk-off, three-run home run.
With the score deadlocked at 2-2, Villalona doubled to the alley in left-center field with one out in the top of the 11th, and chased home Mario Lisson with the go-ahead run. Lisson had opened the inning by drawing a four-pitch walk from Akron lefty Elvis Araujo (0-1).
Richmond’s Jose Casilla (1-0), who stranded the potential winning run at third in the bottom of the 10th, worked a perfect 11th to secure his first playoff win. Casilla had a 15.43 ERA in three relief appearances against Akron in the regular season, but managed to weave together two scoreless innings on Wednesday.
The game went to extra innings when Joe Wendle slapped an RBI single to left in the bottom of the ninth off Richmond closer Cody Hall. After Wendle’s single tied the game, 2-2, the RubberDucks (0-1) had two men on and no one out, but
Hall fanned Bryson Myles and induced a double-play grounder by Jordan Smith to prevent a walk-off win. The game featured a number of lost opportunities for the RubberDucks, who went 1-10 with runners in scoring position.
RubberDucks starter Duke von Schamann turned in a stellar effort, going seven innings and allowing two runs on five hits. His one and only mistake pitch came when he served up a two-run homer to Richmond’s Blake Miller in the third inning to give the Squirrels a 2-0 lead. After that, he only allowed one more hit over the next four innings. An eight-game winner during the regular season, von Schamann walked only two and fanned six.
Alex Lavisky was 2-4 on the night, including an RBI double in the fourth inning off Richmond lefty Adalberto Mejia, who allowed just one run in 6 2/3 innings. Lavisky’s double brought home Erik Gonzalez, who also had two hits in the game.
The win snapped a three-game, playoff losing streak for Richmond, who dropped the final three games of the 2011 EL Finals to New Hampshire. Miller’s homer was his first of the season for the Flying Squirrels. Four Akron pitchers combined to strike out 13 Richmond hitters. Richmond started three position players that did not suit up for a single game for Richmond during the regular season (Daniel Carbonell, Mitch Delfino and Tyler Horan). Right fielder Jordan Smith turned in the defensive play of the game when he made a diving catch in the alley to rob Lisson of a potential double in the sixth.
The RubberDucks will attempt to tie the series when they host the Flying Squirrels in game two on Thursday evening at 6:35. LHP Jack Snodgrass (11-6, 3.56) is the expected starter for Richmond, while the RubberDucks are expected to go with RHP Will Roberts (12-12, 4.08).
Photo: Lianna Holub/DTTWLN photographer