COLUMBUS, Oh. – A disappointing series at Huntington Park came to a bitter end for the Indianapolis Indians (59-52) on Thursday.
The Tribe were routed by the Columbus Clippers (59-51), 10-1, as the Clips finished a three-game sweep that gives them a half game lead in the International League West division standings. With the loss, Indy does not have at least a share of the lead in the IL West for the first time since May 17.
It was a rough night all around for the visitors, who gave up a season-high 17 hits to the Clippers.
Thursday’s contest was scoreless through three and a half innings, but Columbus eventually broke this one open in a big way.
Indians starting pitcher Drew Hutchison tossed six solid innings, giving up two runs on nine hits and two walks. A Ronny Rodriguez solo shot opened the scoring in the fourth, while Tyler Naquin made it 2-0 in favor of the home team with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Hutchison was replaced by Brett McKinney in the seventh and the Clippers took advantage. They scored eight runs (most allowed in an inning by the Tribe this year) in a massive bottom of the seventh.
McKinney was only able to record a pair of outs in the frame, while surrendering eight runs (four earned) on six hits and a walk. The defense behind Indianapolis’ reliever was not a help, either, as Columbus scored the first two runs of the inning on a error-filled play. Nellie Rodriguez provided the biggest hit of all, belting a three-run homer that capped the huge inning and ended McKinney’s night on the hill.
While the Clippers pounded out all of those hits versus Tribe pitching, Indianapolis could not solve Columbus starter Jarrett Grube.
Grube limited the Indians to just two hits in seven innings of work, as the righty turned in a stellar outing. Indy did pick up three hits against the Clips’ bullpen, but used a bases loaded walk in the ninth to bring home their lone run.
The Tribe’s road trip continues on Friday when they open a three-game series against the last place Louisville Bats. Nick Kingham (5-6, 4.42 ERA) is penciled in as Indianapolis’ probable starting pitcher for the 7:05 p.m. ballgame.