Tribe falls to second straight Clipper walk-off

For the second straight night Columbus walked off with a win over the Indianapolis Indians, this time with first baseman Russ Canzler acting the hero as he drove home pinch runner Chad Huffman with a base hit to left in the bottom of the 12th to give the Clippers the 5-4 victory on Tuesday night at Huntington Park.

Indianapolis squandered three golden opportunities to take home the win as in the 10th, 11th and 12 innings they saw their lead-off runner reach and advance into scoring position with less than two outs.  However, the Tribe was unable to convert any of scoring chances leaving the door open for the Clippers, who after a single to lead off the 12th by former Tribe C Luke Carlin, loaded the bases with a walk and second base hit to set the stage for Canzler, who ended the contest with his walk-off base knock.

Columbus powered out to an early advantage thanks to solo longballs off the bats of RF Trevor Crowe in the third and 3B Lonnie Chisenhall in the fourth.  Crowe also scored the Clippers third tally of the contest, when following Chisenhall’s solo shot, he singled, stole second and came around to score on a two-out base knock from SS Andy LaRoche.

Trailing 3-0 heading into the fifth frame, Indians CF Starling Marte would lead the Indians on an offensive outbreak.  After C Eric Fryer led off the fifth with a base hit and CF Gorkys Hernandez reached on a key throwing error by Chisenhall, Marte ripped a clutch two-out two-run single to center to draw the Tribe with-in one at 3-2.

Marte then blazed on the basepaths as he swiped second and, after a walk to 2B Brian Friday, stole third and came plateward on a throwing error by Carlin.  Friday, who took second on the double steal that scored Marte, was then brought plateward to give the Indians their first lead of the game at 4-3, when SS Jordy Mercer followed with a single to center.

However, the power surge had not yet subsided for the Clippers as the red hot LF Matt LaPorta blasted his third home run of the season with two outs in the bottom of the fifth to even the score at 4-4. LaPorta’s longball would prove to be final score of regulation as excellent work from both bullpens sent the game into extras.

Indianapolis relievers Daniel McCutchen, Doug Slaten and Jose Diaz combined for dominating working out of the Tribe’s bullpen as the trio combined for six scoreless innings of relief.  McCutchen (3.0 IP, 2 H, 3 SO) was brilliant over his three frames, striking out three while allowing just two hits, before Slaten (2.0 IP) turned in two perfect innings of work and Diaz (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 SO) tossed a scoreless frame of his own.

The Columbus bullpen was also stellar as Hector Ambriz (2.0 IP, 1 H, 3 SO) and Jeremy Accardo (2.0 IP, 1 H, 3 SO) combined for six strikeouts over four shutout innings, before Chen Lee (2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 SO) earned the victory to improve to 2-0 with two scoreless frames of his own.  For the second straight night, Tribe reliever Tim Wood (0.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO) suffered the loss as he allowed the game-winning score in the 12th on three hits and a walk.

Neither starter figured in the final decision as Indians LHP Rudy Owens (5.0 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO) served up four earned runs including three solo homers over five innings of work, while Clippers RHP Zach McAllister (6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO) was the victim of some defensive miscues surrendering four unearned runs over six innings of work while striking out seven.

Overshadowed by yet another walk-off defeat was the continued success of Tribe 1B/DH Jeff Clement, who went 4-for-5 on the evening to improve his season average to a robust .476.

Indianapolis and Columbus will now continue their series on Wednesday night at 6:35 p.m.  LHP Justin Wilson is expected to make the start for the Indians, while Columbus RHP Kevin Slowey is slated to take the mound for the Clippers.

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