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Indy Coughs Up Late Lead, Losing to Clippers in Series Opener

COLUMBUS, OH – The Indianapolis Indians (43-34) were cruising towards another win on Thursday night. Then the wheels fell off.

J.T. Brubaker struck out eight in 5.2 shutout innings and Jordan Luplow recorded two of Indy’s three RBIs, but the Columbus Clippers (39-39) erased a 3-1 deficit in the eighth with four runs to shockingly win. The Clips stole the 5-3 victory, ending Indy’s win streak at three.

Brubaker, who gave up six runs in 5.2 innings his last time out, was much better on Thursday.

Indy’s right-hander surrendered five hits and issued two walks, but was able to blank the Clips on their home field. Brubaker’s eight strikeouts go down as a new best in Triple-A and his most in a start since punching out eight down in Double-A on April 18.

His ERA is now at 3.66 through ten Triple-A outings.

At the plate, Indianapolis got on the scoreboard with productive outs.

In the first inning, Kevin Newman led off with a double before Luplow drove him in from third with a grounder. Luplow got another RBI in the third inning, once again productively grounding out to score Pablo Reyes. Newman scored for the second time later in the frame, as Kevin Kramer used a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0 in favor of the visitors.

Three runs wouldn’t prove to be enough, however, as the Clippers began their comeback in the seventh.

A walk and a double versus Indians reliever Damien Magnifico got Columbus within 3-1, but work was still needed to be done. They got it done in the eighth.

Enny Romero replaced Magnifico in the frame and immediately ran into trouble, as Francisco Mejia led off with a homer to shave Columbus’ deficit down to one. A fielding error and a walk ensued before the Clips laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position. Indianapolis opted to load the bases with an intentional walk, but Romero followed by Drew Maggi on five pitches to bring home the tying run.

Romero wouldn’t last past that walk, as Indians manager Brian Esposito called upon Dovydas Neverauskas. That didn’t matter much to the Clips, who took a 5-3 lead in Neverauskas’ first at-bat. Sam Haggerty singled up the middle, plating the go-ahead runs for the home team.

Indy went down quietly in the top of the ninth, securing the win for Columbus.

The Tribe will aim to bounce back on Friday, with first pitch from Huntington Park coming at 7:15 p.m. Brandon Waddell (2-3, 7.41 ERA) gets the nod on the bump for Indy.

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