Sunday’s contest in downtown Indianapolis gave the Tribe a chance to further cut into the Clippers divisional lead, the only problem, the Indians had to try and solve the daytime brilliance of Columbus starting pitcher Yohan Pino.
Heading into Sunday’s game, the right-hander was 3-0 with a 2.50 ERA during day games. Try and try as they may, it just wasn’t Indianapolis‘ day as they lost 5-1. Yohan Pino’s (7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 6 SO) midday mastery continued as he threw seven shutout innings and surrendered just two hits to the Hoosier-hardballers. After this latest loss, Indy Indians starting right-handed pitcher Hayden Penn (6.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO) is still in search of his first win since joining the Tribe in early May.
To make matters worse for Circle City crew, they were burnt badly by one of their own past players on Sunday. Former Indian infielder Brian Bixler–played for Indianapolis from 2006-2009–had his most potent day at the plate of the entire 2010 season as he went 2-for-4 with 4 RBI and a hand in the Clippers fifth run as well.
The visiting Clippers jumped on the scoreboard first in the top of the third inning as designated hitter Brian Buscher singled up the middle. Columbus second basemen Josh Rodriguez followed that with a single of his own to left field. Both runners advanced one base as right fielder Jose Constanza laid down a sacrifice bunt to third base.
The Tribes Penn nearly got out of the inning unscathed after fanning Columbus leadoff man, and center fielder, Michael Brantley for the second out. But Bixler would have none of it as he dropped a bloop double in no-mans’ land behind first base that plated the two Clipper runners for a 2-0 lead.
Former Indianapolis Indians infielder Brian Bixler went 2-for-4 with 4 RBI against his former squad on Sunday
While the Indians didn’t register their first team hit until the fifth inning, the Clippers added another run in the top of the frame to extend the lead. This time it was Constanza who reached base on a bunt single, and stole both second and third to place him just 90-feet from pay dirt. Once again it was a double off of the bat of Bixler that plated the Columbus run for a 3-0 lead.
Things got ugly defensively for the home team in the top of the seventh inning. After Rodriguez singled to lead off the inning for Columbus, Brantley singled to center to put runners on the corners. Brantley was caught stealing second by Indianapolis Indians cathcer Luke Carlin for the second out of the inning, but the pesky Bixler walked to load the corners once again. Bixler then stole second base as Carlin threw the ball into center field, allowing Rodriguez to score from third.
Indians left fielder Jose Tabata letting you know he stole two bases in Sunday’s afternoon game.
All Indianapolis sports fans in attendance had something to cheer about in the bottom of the eight inning when the Indians broke the shutout as left fielder Jose Tabata scored on a throwing error from the visitor’s third basemen Jerad Goedert. Unfortunately, that was all the Tribe could muster offensively, as the Clips added one more run in the ninth inning for good measure and a 5-1 victory.
With the loss, Penn is now 0-2 on the season after allowing four runs on nine hits in 6.1 innings of work. Right-handed reliever Anthony Claggett (1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO) held the Clippers scoreless over 1.2 innings before right-handed Jean Machi (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB) allowed the final run in the ninth on two hits.
The Indians finish their four-game set with the Columbus Clippers on Monday, June 7 at 7:00 p.m. Left-handed starter Brian Burres is expected to toe the rubber for the Tribe, while right-hander Josh Tomlin is the probable starter for Columbus.
The game can be heard on Indianapolis radio station WXLW-950 AM , or watched live on Comcast and Bright House Networks digital channel 81 with Howard Kellman and Scott McCauley giving you the play-by-play. The pre-game show on WXLW-950 AM begins at 6:40 p.m
EXTRA GAME NOTES
- With the loss, the Indianapolis Indians slip to 30-27 on the season as Columbus moves to 36-22. The win increases the Clippers International League West Division lead to 5.5 games over the Tribe, and 4.0 games ahead of second-place Toledo. Toledo has a double-header scheduled in upstate New York against the Rochester Red Wings on Monday.
- One of the few bright spots for the Indianapolis Indians on Sunday afternoon was left fielder Jose Tabata’s 2 stolen bases. Tabata now leads the entire International League with 23 steals on the season, this is four more than the Charlotte Knights second basemen Brent Lillibridge and the Durham Bulls first basemen Dan Johnson who both have 19.
- Monday’s starter for the Indians Brian Burres is making his first Triple-A appearance of the season. The left-hander has spent the last two seasons pitching in the Major Leagues for the Pittsburgh Pirates.