COLUMBUS, OH – On Friday night, the Indianapolis Indians (10-9) had a record-setting night at the plate. Come Saturday night, they were nearly on the wrong side of history.
Columbus Clippers (9-11) starting pitcher Adam Plutko retired all 23 batters he faced, turning in 7.2 perfect innings before being taken out of the game with 101 pitches. Jacob Stallings doubled on the very first pitch thrown by a Clips pitcher not named Plutko, breaking up a possible combined perfect game, but the Tribe still lost by a final score of 8-0 at Huntington Park.
Plutko, who gave up four runs in five innings and took the loss in his first start of the season in Indianapolis, had it going on Saturday.
The right-hander struck out six, while holding Indianapolis to no hits or walks.
With Plutko past his pitch count, Columbus manager Chris Tremie was forced to replace the red-hot righty with Neil Ramirez. Stallings smacked Ramirez’s first pitch for a double, ending the Clippers’ hope for a perfecto.
Ramirez then served up singles to Chris Bostick and Kevin Newman in the ninth, but was able to settle down and secure the win for Plutko and the Clips.
In perfect baseball manner, the Indians finished with three hits on Saturday. Just 20 knocks shy of their Friday output in Columbus.
Offensively for the Clippers, innings two and five were key.
Facing Tribe starter Casey Sadler, the home team grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second. Eric Haase got things started with a single and scored later in the frame on a Yu Chang two-run shot.
Sadler got through the third and fourth innings cleanly, but the wheels fell off in the fifth.
Walk. Single. Hit by pitch. That’s how Sadler started the fifth, leaving Indianapolis manager Brian Esposito with no choice but to bring reliever Damien Magnifico in to pitch. He wasn’t much better.
Magnifico immediately gave up a single to Brandon Barnes, giving Columbus a 3-0 edge. The right-hander did get a couple of force outs, but walked three batters with the bases loaded in the process to extend the Clippers’ lead to six runs. Gio Urshela put a cap on the rally, driving in two with a single to make it 8-0.
Sadler finished with a final line of five runs allowed on seven hits and four walks in 4+ innings pitched. Magnifico got just two outs, surrendering three runs on one hit and three walks in his limited time on the mound.
The Indians will look to bounce back and take the rubber game of the series at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday. Alex McRae (0-0, 6.75 ERA) is expected to pitch for the visiting Tribe.