Columbus Notes: Clippers Hustle Way To Win

COLUMBUS, Ohio—A balanced display of offense Saturday night allowed Columbus to bounce back from an embarrassing loss Friday and beat the Pawtucket Red Sox 6-2. Right-hander Josh Hall made his first start for the Clippers since being promoted and collected the win.

Clippers' Batting Order: CF Brandon Watson, 2B Bernie Castro, 3B Kory Casto, RF Michael Restovich, 1B Larry Broadway, RF Abraham Nunez, LF George Lombard, C Brandon Harper, SS Melvin Dorta

Starting Pitcher: RHP Josh Hall

Relievers: RHP Hector Carrasco, RHP Winston Abreu, RHP Chris Booker. Columbus found production from all over the lineup on Saturday, but it was their ability to take advantage of three Pawtucket errors that helped them take the lead and go onto win 6-2. The Clippers first run in the second inning was the result of an error by Pawtucket second baseman Bobby Scales. After the Red Sox tied it up in the top of the third, Columbus responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead for good. Only one of Pawtucket starter David Pauley's runs was earned.

The Clippers obviously were looking to respond from Friday night's 13-2 shellacking in which they made several base-running miscues that could have resulted in runs. All night, the Clippers had a little more pep in their step on the base paths. Seven of the nine Clippers recorded hits, and surprisingly, Brandon Watson was not one of them. The Clippers' best hitter went 0 for 4, but he still managed to make a contribution with his sacrifice bunt in the fourth inning. On a less positive note, the Clippers left 11 runners stranded.

Key Hitters:

Bernie Castro went 2 for 5 at the plate and also reached on an error in the third inning. Pawtucket pitcher David Pauley made a bad throw to first base, and Castro hustled all the way to third on the play. He scored later in the inning and also scored in the seventh after his leadoff single. Despite the fact that Columbus had 11 hits, Castro was the only Clipper to record an extra base hit with his double in the first inning. 

Kory Casto also went 2 for 5 and really turned his night around during his last two at-bats. He grounded to the pitcher in the first inning and looked befuddled on back-to-back strikeouts the next two times up. However, in the seventh inning, Casto showed great speed when he collected a bunt single. He scored later in the inning. In the eighth, Casto gave the Clippers an insurance run with an RBI single to center.

Abraham Nunez was 2 for 3 with a walk Saturday. He flied out in his first at-bat, but hit singles his next two times at the plate. In the third, his RBI single brought in Michael Restovich. He stole second base in the fifth inning. 

Larry Broadway also put together a multi-hit game on Saturday night. Broadway was 2 for 5. His RBI single in the seventh inning brought home Bernie Castro and put the Clippers up 4-2.

Pitching Performances:

Josh Hall looked strong in his debut for Columbus. The former Reds prospect went five innings and allowed only one run on three hits. He threw 86 pitches, 47 of them for strikes. The right-hander looked a bit shaky at the start of several innings—he walked the leadoff batter in each of the first three innings. Several impressive defensive plays, including a pickoff by Brandon Harper in the first inning and an impressive catch in left by George Lombard, helped Hall avoid worse damage. He successfully worked out of a jam in the third inning with a man on third base with one out. Hall's fastball peaked in the high 80's and his breaking balls clocked in around 75 MPH.

Hector Carrasco was dominant when he came on in the sixth inning. He struck out Pawtucket's 4-5-6 hitters in order, all swinging. Carrasco continued on into the seventh and ran into a little bit of trouble. After a leadoff walk, Pawtucket managed a single and a sacrifice fly on Carrasco to put their second run on the scoreboard. Carrasco's fastball was clocked in the mid-90s.

Winston Abreu did not display the unhittable pitching style he has shown throughout the season, but he still managed to pitch a scoreless eighth inning. He allowed the first two men to reach base safely, but he got the next two Pawtucket batters to pop up before an inning-ending groundout by Jeff Bailey.

Chris Booker closed the door on Pawtucket with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. After striking the first two men out, Booker forced leadoff hitter Brady Clark to pop up to end the game. Booker's splitter looked impressive, and his fastball clocked in around 91 MPH.

Beyond The Box Score: Saturday night's win was the fourth straight victory over the Red Sox this season…Joel Hanrahan made his first start with Washington Saturday night. He went six innings, gave up three runs, and did not register a decision in a 6-5 victory over the Mets…Watson entered the game tied for first in IL batting average with Richmond's Martin Prado

On Deck For The Clippers: Columbus will play Pawtucket over the next three days before going on the road against Durham on Wednesday. Curt Schilling is scheduled to start for Pawtucket against the Clippers on Tuesday. 

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