INDIANAPOLIS – In a back-and-forth game that lasted a total of eleven innings on Sunday afternoon, the Columbus Clippers were able to get the last big hit and sneak by the Indianapolis Indians.
The two teams seemed to play hot potato with the lead for most of the game, but it was Ronny Rodridguez‘s RBI triple in the eleventh that ultimately lifted the Clips to an 8-7 win at Victory Field.
The action started early in the first inning, as Jesus Aguilar homered for the second straight time. Columbus’ first baseman hit the game-winning home run in the ninth on Saturday and got Sunday’s scoring started with a two-out bomb to right center off of Indians starting pitcher Steven Brault.
Indianapolis did not take long to respond, however, as three straight one-out hits against Clippers starter TJ House tied the game. Jason Rogers ended up with the RBI, as he recorded an infield single to make it 1-1.
Brault and House settled in for a while after a busy opening inning, but the offense got going again in the fifth.
Columbus’ rally in the frame started with a ground rule double to left, as Mel Rojas Jr. lost the ball in the sun. The miscue would hurt Brault and the Tribe, as Erik Gonzalez hit a two-out RBI double to push the Clippers ahead 2-1.
Brault was pulled from the game following the extra base hit, leaving him with a final line of two runs allowed on five hits in 4 2/3 innings pitched.
It was the Tribe’s turn to knock the opposing pitcher out of the game next, as they put up a three-run bottom of the fifth to go ahead 4-2. Josh Bell hit a two-run double and Rogers notched his second RBI of the day with a run-scoring single, forcing Columbus to call on their bullpen to get out of the inning.
House completed four total innings and faced five batters in the fifth, finishing with four runs allowed on seven hits and three walks.
Things really started to get wild after that, as all four Indians pitchers that came out of their bullpen surrendered at least one run.
First, it was Jhondaniel Medina, who hit a batter and gave up two singles in the sixth before Rodriguez cashed in with a RBI groundout to make it 4-3. Next it was Kelvin Marte, who saw a pair of bunt singles lead to a sacrifice fly and a Giovanny Urshela RBI single give the Clippers a 5-4 advantage in the seventh.
Despite giving up the lead, Indianapolis answered quickly again, taking back the lead in the bottom of the seventh. With two gone in the frame, Max Moroff blasted a two-run homer to right off of Josh Martin to give the Tribe a one-run lead.
Columbus fought back in the eighth, though, as Gonzalez shot a RBI single to right off of Curtis Partch to tie it up at 6-6.
The game would go into extra innings from there, with the Clippers regaining the lead once again in the tenth against new Indians pitcher Trey Haley. A sacrifice bunt moved a pair of runners into scoring position with one out and Gonzalez took advantage with a sacrifice fly, putting Columbus up 7-6.
With their backs against the wall, a pair of Indianapolis pinch hitters came up clutch against Clippers reliever Jeff Johnson. With two outs, Adam Frazier ended up on second base following a fielding error and then Dan Gamache drove him home with a RBI single to left to make it a 7-7 game.
As expected, Columbus came right back in the eleventh. With Haley still on the mound, Urshela came up with an one-out single before Rodriguez put the Clips ahead again with a run-scoring triple to right.
The topsy-turvy afternoon would finally end in the bottom of the eleventh, when with Alen Hanson on third base and one out, Bell lined out right to third for a game-ending unassisted double play.
After splitting the four-game series with the Clippers, Indianapolis will welcome the Toledo Mud Hens for a three-game set starting on Monday. First pitch from Victory Field is set for 7:05 p.m. with Jameson Taillon (1-0, 1.50 ERA) scheduled to take the hill for the Tribe. Also, Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang is expected to begin a rehab assignment with the Indians beginning on Monday night.