On an average spring day in downtown Columbus, Ohio, the Columbus Clippers took to the field against the Norfolk Tides in the last game of their series. With 7,000 fans watching on, the Clippers were looking to get back at the Tide for creaming them Friday during the series opener, 13-2. The Tides, on the other hand, were simply looking to win, which would give them every game in the series.
Wanting to ensure that their desires prevailed, the Clippers took the lead early and held on to it with an iron grip. It all started in the second, when Matt LaPorta fired a cannon shot high up into the left field bleachers. After Jordan Brown hit a deep double to the center field wall, Andy Cannizaro knocked him home. The Tides were able to end the inning after this.
Matt LaPorta connecting with the ball for the first home run of the game (credit: Robert M. Barga).
Little did they know, however, that the two runs in the second were the least of their worries. In the third, almost everybody from the Clippers ended up on the bases, some more than once. The 40-minute run-fest consisted of seven hits, five walks, and 11 runs. All in all, a total of 15 at-bats occurred, most of them repeats from the same inning. Tony Graffanino scored twice and Andy Marte got three RBIs in two different at-bats. The 11 runs scored during the third ties a Clippers record which was set on June 7, 1992.
Jack Cassel, for his part, ensured the victory of the Clippers. Pitching a no-hitter for the first three innings, Cassel allowed only three hits in the first five innings. He finally cracked, however, when he allowed five in the sixth inning alone. The Clippers replaced him midway through the seventh, but they showed a lot of confidence in him. It was well placed.
Though the Clippers scored a few more times during the game, and the Tides scored as well, neither team did much to add to the score board. Without any more major action, Huntington Park slowly emptied out during the later innings, as nobody wanted to stay.
This pleased me greatly, as it meant the family sitting in the suite box next to the press box left about halfway through the game. Throughout the game, the kids were screaming at players, yelling at the cameras, and tapping on my windows to get my attention. About 20 minutes into the game I decided the kids were going to drive me crazy. When they finally left, I was wondering if a jury would convict me. Seriously, kids like this ruin baseball games for us "sportswriters."
The Great Race
Starting on the first of June, and continuing for every game I attend, I will be keeping track of the hot dog race. Today's winner was Relish, in a come-from-behind sprint for the lead. This gives Relish 1 win while both Ketchup and Mustard have 0.
W: Jack Cassel (4-4), 7 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO
L: Radhames Liz (0-1), 2.1 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO