COLUMBUS, Ohio — In his Triple-A debut, starting pitcher Hector Rondon struck out eight and held the Tribe hitless for six innings as the Columbus Clippers held off a late inning rally and went on to defeat the Indianapolis Indians 2-1 on Wednesday evening at Huntington Park.
With the loss the Indians fall to 40-45 on the season and 19-22 on the road, while the Clippers improve to 37-49 overall and 18-23 at home with the win. The victory for Columbus also gives them the 5-4 season series edge of Indianapolis and evens the series at 3-3 in games in played at Huntington Park this season.
A mid-season All-Star with Double-A Akron, Rondon (6.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 SO) was brilliant in his debut at the Triple-A level as he allowed no hits and just three base runners in six innings of work. After posting a 7-5 record and 2.75 ERA with the Double-A Aeros, the hard throwing right hander improves to 1-0 with the victory.
Though the Clippers’ bullpen surrendered the no-hitter in the seventh, they went on to allow just five singles, while striking out four and held on for the 2-1 victory over the Tribe. LHP Rich Rundles (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 SO) and RHP Jensen Lewis (1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 SO) each collected holds for Columbus, while RHP Greg Aquino (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 SO) escaped a ninth inning jam for his fifth save of the season.
Though they would leave 12 runners on base, leave the bases loaded in both the fifth and sixth innings and go just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position, the Clippers’ offense plated just enough runs to come away with the victory.
Columbus jumped out to the early 1-0 lead in the third inning with a two-out rally sparked by LF Michael Brantley, who reached on an infield single and then came around to score on a clutch double by CF Trevor Crowe. The two-bagger for Crowe not only gave the Clippers the early lead, but also extended his team best hitting streak to 14 games, during which time the switch hitting slugger is batting .322 (19-for-59) with eight runs and eight RBI.
Later after the Clippers failed in several opportunities to push their second run across the plate, International League All-Star third baseman, Andy Marte, would finally come through with a clutch two-out single in the seventh that plated 1B Matt LaPorta for what turned out to be the game-winning tally. LaPorta reached on a walk earlier in the frame after a one-out double by 2B Tony Graffanino and later moved into scoring position on the third hit of the contest by DH Wes Hodges.
Hodges (3-for-4) and Brantley (2-for-5, 1 R) were the only Clippers with multiple hits, while only 1B Brian Myrow turned in a multi-hit performance for the Tribe.
Both of Myrow’s base knocks were big for Indianapolis as his first single in the seventh broke up the no-hit bid began by Rondon, and his second base hit started the Tribe’s ninth inning scoring rally that fell just short of sending the game to extras. In that ninth, following Myrow’s base hit, new Indians’ infielder Tagg Bozied roped a single of his own to move Myrow to third and allowed 3B Hector Gimenez to bring home the Tribe’s first run with a sacrifice fly.
However, Columbus would escape the ninth inning Indianapolis come back attempt and spoil a gritty effort by Indians hurlers, who escaped several jams and went on to allow just two runs to a powerful Clippers’ offense.
Indianapolis starter Tom Gorzelanny (5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 SO) was the tough luck loser as for his second straight outing he took the loss after allowing just one run in five plus innings of work. In relief of Gorzelanny, RHP Ty Taubenheim (1.0 IP, 1 H) bounced back from his last outing with a scoreless inning of work, while RHP Jason Davis (1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 WP) struggled again with his control, but was able to work his way out of two jams and ended up surrendering just one run.
Indianapolis wraps up their short three-game series with Columbus on Thursday at 12:05 p.m. RHP Jeremy Powell is scheduled to start for the Indians, while LHP Chuck Lofgren is expected to get the nod for the Clippers.
The contest will be carried by WXLW-950 AM and www.IndyIndians.com with Howard Kellman and Scott McCauley. The pre-game show begins at 11:45 a.m.
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