It was not a good day to be a Cleveland Indians affiliate. Unless you were the Columbus Clippers who stumbled their way into a 2-1 victory, you either lost heartbreakingly close, low-scoring games (see: Akron RubberDucks and Lynchburg Hillcats), or your starting pitcher imploded in the first four innings (see: Lake County Captains).
In a bit of weirdness, the Lynchburg Hillcats lost a close one, and starting pitcher Nick Pasquale will go down as the "losing" pitcher, despite not actually allowing an earned run.
Columbus Clippers 2, Durham Bulls 1
Box Score · Clippers improve to 28-21
It only took five hits and two runs, but the Columbus Clippers were able to win their second-straight game to take the series against the Durham Bulls, 2-1.
Two of the Clippers' five hits came from Yandy Diaz, who is now slashing .302/.361/.566 in his 15 games at Triple-A. This was Yandy Diaz's third multi-hit game in his last 10 -- in that span, he is 13-for-36 with two home runs and four walks. Another one of the hits was Guillermo Quiroz's solo shot in the fifth inning, his sixth home run of the season and the only one for Columbus yesterday.
The Clippers victory was achieved with so little offense thanks to TJ House's six-inning, six-hit outing. He also struck out three and walked three on the day. Cole Sulser, who was recently promoted following Alex Lavisky's requested release, had himself a scoreless two innings of work, including two strikeouts and a lone hit. Ben Heller finished out the game for this first save in Triple-A.
Since Heller's Triple-A debut in which he allowed two earned runs in 0.2 innings, he has allowed just three hits and no runs in 3.1 innings.
Akron RubberDucks 1, Harrisburg Senators 2
Box Score · RubberDucks fall to 35-14
Although the Akron RubberDucks amassed seven hits on the day, a lack of clutch hitting (1-for-7 w/RISP) and a whole lot of strikeouts (15) meant the team snapped their small winning streak at two games.
Catcher Alex Monsalve and shortstop Eric Stamets hit well from the bottom of the Akron lineup, combining to go 4-for-7 and striking out just once. However, the top four hitters -- Todd Hankins, Taylor Murphy, Bradley Zimmer, and Nellie Rodriguez -- combined to go 1-for-16 with 12 strikeouts and zero walks. The only run that Akron was able to score came in the third when Monsalve singled and was hit home in the next at-bat by an Eric Stamets double.
Adam Plutko turned in a great outing, even if he did only strike out four batters. His two hits allowed was tied for a season-low, and his one earned run dropped his season earned run average from 2.89 to 2.66. Plutko left the game tied in the eighth inning; it was not until the ninth that reliever Anderson Polanco allowed the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly following a double and a sacrifice bunt.
Salem Red Sox 2, Lynchburg Hillcats 1
Box Score · Hillcats fall to 32-18
Stop me if you have heard this one before: An Indians minor league affiliate took part in a 2-1 game yesterday. This time, it was once again a loss as the Hillcats could only record three hits on the day.
Greg Allen, Mark Mathias, and Sicnarf Loopstok all hit singles, but that was it. As a team, the Hillcats walked four times but stuck out nine.
Hillcats starting pitcher Nick Pasquale was tagged with the loss despite not allowing an earned run. Both of Salem's runs came in the second inning as a result of a throwing error by third baseman Claudio Bautista. The Red Sox did add eight hits on the day, but there unable to plate any other runs without the mistake from Bautista.
Pasquale also struck out six and allowed five hits in his four innings without issuing a single walk. Forty-six of his 67 pitches found the strikezone yesterday.
Fort Wayne TinCaps 9, Lake County Captains 3
Box Score · Captains fall to 28-22
Hey, look at that! Some offense! Unfortunately, all the runs lined up on the wrong side of the scorecard.
By the start of the fifth inning, the Lake County Captains already found themselves down, 9-2, thanks to back-to-back four-run innings from the Fort Wayne TinCaps.
Same Hentges earned run average took the brunt of the damage, as nine of the eight runs were credited to him; one went unearned on account of a fielding error. All told, Hentges allowed 10 hits on the day, including two home runs. He was finally pulled after 3.1 innings, allowing Brock Hartson to finish the game with a 5.2-inning, three-hit "start."
Lake County was able to tally nine hits, but they were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and they left eight stranded on base, overall. All of this despite only striking out five times. Two fo those nine hits came from Connor Marabell, who is starting up a nice streak of his own -- three-straight games with a hit, two straight multi-hit games.