COLUMBUS CLIPPERS – 4, INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS – 5
Shaffer mounts late comeback for Clippers
Columbus entered the bottom of the ninth down by three runs after another game of leaving double-digit runners on base. Left fielder Richie Shaffer hit a two-run homer with two outs, but that is where the runs would stop for the Clippers as Nellie Rodriguez struck out with the tying and winning runs on base.
Shaffer drove in three of Columbus’ four runs in the game with his home run in the ninth and RBI single in the seventh. He also had back-to-back walks in his first two at-bats of the contest. The 26-year-old leads the team in walks with 19 on the season. In his 10 previous appearances against Indianapolis, Shaffer has hit .324 with three home runs and six RBI.
“It’s good to see the life in the ninth inning,” manager Chris Tremie said. “Good at-bats by (Giovanny) Urshela and obviously Shaffer and followed up by Ronny (Rodriguez) and Adam (Moore). Four pretty good at-bats with two outs there down by three runs and that close to coming back and winning the game. It’s good to see that eagerness and that effectiveness of having quality at-bats in the ninth inning.”
As a team, the Clippers left 14 men on base after stranding 10 in their previous ballgame. Columbus also drew a season-high 11 walks on the afternoon.
“I think we’ve had some bad luck with guys in scoring position,” Shaffer said. “Some balls hit hard right at guys, stuff like that. So catch a break here and there, maybe get a bleeder or something to fall with a guy on base and just sort of take a deep breath and then we can just kind of go from there.”
Shaffer: 2-for-3, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB
Plutko still in search of first win of season
Right-hander Adam Plutko dropped his fifth straight start of the year on Sunday after allowing four runs (three earned) over six innings. After a rocky start to the game, Plutko settled in during the third, fourth and fifth innings as he did not allow a run. He only threw two more pitches in those three innings compared to the two frames to start the contest.
The 25-year-old has improved over each of his six starts this year after allowing three runs in 2 2/3 innings in his first outing of the campaign. His earned run average has slowly declined, however, he has failed to allow fewer than three runs in each of his starts this year.
Plutko: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 92 pitches (60 strikes), L.
Adam Plutko 3rd inning: 90 81 90 89 91 87 90 75 90 91 90 90
Adam Plutko 4th inning: 89 90 90 90 80 91 76 88 83 90 90 91 90 84 91 77 84 92 91 83 85
Left-hander Tyler Olson had another strong showing as he came in relief of Plutko to start the seventh. He tossed 15 pitches (11 strikes) while picking up two strikeouts and a groundout. Olson has now thrown 15 1/3 innings this year and surrendered 10 hits, seven earned runs and struck out 23 opposing hitters. The 27-year-old has not allowed a run in his last five appearances after allowing four in one inning against Buffalo on April 22.
“His numbers are a little ambiguous right now because of one or two outings at the beginning of the season, but as the season goes on you’re gonna see those even out,” Tremie said. “He’s been really good against lefties. He’s faced a large number of them now in the league from different teams and none of them are getting good swings off of him so that tells you when you’re facing multiple left-hand hitters having the same effect on them your stuff is pretty good.”
Olson: 1 IP, 0H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 15 pitches (11 strikes)
Mike Clevinger was called up to the Indians on Sunday after a great start to the season with the Clippers. The righty was 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 30 innings with Columbus. He started for Cleveland on Sunday and picked up the win going 5 2/3 allowing one hit and striking out five.
“We have the same rotation, four starters are here,” Tremie said. “We’ll have (Michael) Peoples from Akron that will be filling in in that spot and essentially the same bullpen. It’s good for (Clevinger) to go help the big league club.”