With their 4-1 victory tonight over the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Philadelphia Phillies) behind pitcher Paulo Espino, the Columbus Clippers clinch their second straight Governors’ Cup victory! They won the five game series three games to one. If we can’t watch meaningful baseball in Cleveland over the next week and a half, we might as well enjoy some meaningful minor league baseball from Indians’ affiliates.
The Clippers lost game one to the Iron Pigs 5-2 at Huntington Park in Columbus. Zach McAllister put forth a performance that probably looked pretty familiar to Indians’ fans (this kid really seems to struggle under any kind of pressure). McAllister gave up 4 runs in the first inning of the game; 3 of which came from a Brandon Moss 3-run home run. After the rough first inning, McAllister settled down and made it through the 8th inning, striking out 6. They sent him out for the 9th, but after he gave up another run he was pulled for Kelvin De La Cruz. The Clippers actually put up a bit of a fight at the end, loading the bases in the 9th with two outs. Jared Goedert struck out to end the game.
In game 2, the Clippers were able to pull the series even at one game a piece after a 4-1 win over Lehigh Valley. Mitch Talbot gave a stellar performance, pitching a complete game for his second postseason victory. He gave up a solo home run to Tagg Bozied in the fifth inning, to give Lehigh Valley a 1-0 lead. That was the only run that Talbot would allow; the offense finally kicked into gear in the bottom of the 8th inning. The Clippers loaded the bases with nobody out, when Travis Buck hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 1. The bases were reloaded with a Jared Goedert infield single. Columbus then scored a second run on a wild pitch; Beau Mills then knocked in 2 runs with a single to make it 4-1.
When the series shifted east to Lehigh Valley, the Clippers pulled ahead two games to one with a 6-2 victory. Pitcher Joe Martinez had a huge game, striking out 13. Martinez and two relievers combined to hold the Iron Pigs to just 4 hits during the game. It was actually a tight pitcher’s duel until Lehigh Valley’s bullpen fell apart in the ninth inning; pitcher Chance Chapman came into the game with the bases loaded and walked in three straight runs to push it to 6-2 from 3-2.
The Clippers clinched the Governors’ Cup tonight with their 4-1 victory in Lehigh Valley. Espino allowed 1 earned run on 4 hits, striking out 5 and walking 1 over 7 innings. Chen Lee pitched 2 perfect innings, striking out 4. For the offense, the Clippers had 10 hits; third baseman Jared Goedert was 1-5 with a solo home run, outfielder Chad Huffman was 2-4, second baseman Argenis Reyes was 3-4, catcher Paul Phillips was 1-4 with an RBI. All of the starters had at least one hit except for outfielders Travis Buck and Jerad Head.
Now the Clippers will advance to the Triple-A World Series against the winner of the Pacific Coast League (the Clippers represent the International League). This is just a one game deal – it takes place at 8:05 EST on Tuesday, September 20 at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (As a Simpsons fan, I love that there’s an Albuquerque Isotopes). The Clippers will be considered the home team since the International League won the Triple-A All-Star game this year. They’ll play either the Omaha Storm Chasers (Kansas City Royals) or the Sacramento River Cats (Oakland Athletics). Omaha currently leads the five game series two games to zero.