Clippers Walk Off Second Straight Game to Make it Eight Wins in a Row
Bob Toth | On 29, Apr 2016
While the parent Cleveland Indians have danced all around the .500 mark through the first month of the season, all of their children are performing well at the minor league level.
This very much includes their Triple-A affiliate, the Columbus Clippers, who won their eighth straight game and second in a row in dramatic fashion with a 5-4 victory at Huntington Park on Thursday afternoon over the Charlotte Knights.
The Clippers finish their homestand with a perfect 8-0 record.
Ryan Merritt started for the Clippers and got a couple of early runs from his teammates, as a sacrifice fly from Giovanny Urshela scored Michael Martinez in the first and Martinez drove home Joey Butler in the second after the Clippers loaded the bases with three straight singles to lead off the inning.
Things were quiet until the top of the sixth, when Charlotte got to Merritt and took the lead. Back-to-back singles came in handy for former Indians outfielder J.B. Shuck, whose RBI-double to right scored a pair (he moved to third on the throw). The next batter, Matt Davidson, drove him home from third with a single to left.
The Clip show tied it back up at three in the bottom of the seventh when Columbus put together a two-out rally against reliever Blake Smith. Robbie Grossman doubled to right and scored on a single from Urshela, who had an eventful day at the plate. He would be stranded at second after advancing on the throw.
On to the ninth, Austin Adams took over on the mound for Tom Gorzelanny. A one-out walk to Daniel Fields proved costly after he stole second base on the second out of the inning. Danny Hayes drove him home with a double to right to give the Knights the lead with three outs to go.
It took the Clippers just three batters to turn the tide in their favor for good. With reliever Brad Goldberg taking over on the mound, he plunked new Clipper Eric Stamets with a pitch. He scored on a triple from Martinez to left. Martinez scored on a single to right by recently optioned Collin Cowgill, whose walk-off hit pushed the Clippers winning streak to eight straight games.
Despite the blown save in the ninth, Adams earned his second win of the year.
The Clippers are now 13-7 on the season.
Merritt, the young southpaw pitching prospect, had looked good on the mound with five scoreless innings and a stretch of eight straight Knights retired before he was hit for the three runs in the sixth. He lasted six and one-third innings on the mound, giving up eight hits, but striking out seven in the no-decision. Gorzelanny threw one and two-thirds innings in relief, walking one and striking out one.
Columbus will now take their show on the road as they begin a ten-day road trip (including nine games) beginning in Georgia against the Gwinnett Braves on Friday. They will rematch the Knights in Charlotte starting on Monday, and will take on the Toledo Mud Hens next weekend.
Photo: Kyle Robertson/The Columbus Dispatch