INDIANAPOLIS – Gloomy clouds overhead at Victory Field on Wednesday afternoon not only signified bad weather on the horizon for downtown Indianapolis, but it was also somewhat of a fitting backdrop for what was taking place on the diamond.
The Indianapolis Indians‘ playoff hopes were crushed by the Columbus Clippers in Wednesday’s contest, as the Clips clinched their third straight International League West division title with a 3-1 win. The two teams have been going in opposite directions as of late, with Wednesday’s victory making it nine in a row for Columbus.
The third inning proved to be the difference in the ballgame, as the Clippers plated two runs against Indy starting pitcher Drew Hutchison. Three consecutive one-out singles put the Clips ahead 1-0 before Michael Choice made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly.
Indianapolis was stymied by Columbus starter Shawn Morimando throughout the game, but Austin Meadows was able to connect for a long ball in the fourth. The Tribe’s left fielder blasted a no-doubt home run to right, cutting Indy’s deficit in half.
Morimando worked six innings for the Clippers, giving up just one run on three hits and a walk.
Unfortunately for the Indians, that one-run deficit would not last for long. Choice was able to match Meadow’s long homer with one of his own in the top of the fifth, as he took Hutchison deep to left to push Columbus in front 3-1.
Hutchison was lifted following the fifth, leaving him with a final line of three runs allowed on four hits and five walks. The right-hander took the loss, his first decision with Indianapolis after receiving four straight no-decisions with his new club.
While the Tribe had trouble with Morimando on Wednesday, they legitimately got nothing going against the Clips’ bullpen. Tommy Hunter, Craig Stammen and Cody Anderson each fired a perfect inning in relief to take Columbus to a 3-1 win and another division crown.
Now eliminated from playoff contention, the Indians will take on division rivals who also will see their season end shortly. Indy will welcome the Louisville Bats, who sit just a half game back of the Tribe in the IL West standings, to the Vic on Thursday. Steven Brault (2-6, 3.63 ERA) is expected to start on the mound for Indianapolis in the 7:05 p.m. matchup.