Clippers, Indians

Clippers Shut Down Bulls 3-0 Behind Solid Pitching from McAllister, Bullpen

IL Playoffs Round 1 – Game 1
Clippers 3, Bulls 0 (box)
COL leads series 1-0

Often in a baseball playoff series, Game 1 is all about “strength versus strength” – the teams usually each send their best pitchers to the mound, and the offenses are feeling each other out. Bulls’ starter Matt Moore hadn’t lost a start since being promoted from AA in July, so it looked like the Clippers–even with their best starter in Zach McAllister toeing the rubber–would have their work cut out for them.

Well, Moore was good; the difference is that McAllister was great, at least for six innings. And, the Clippers’ bullpen was exceptional. Columbus got enough offense from the middle of the order, and pushed past the Bulls for a 1-0 series lead. OF Chad Huffman led the bats with a home run, a double, and two of the three RBI on the night. Beau Mills drove in the third run, and that was more than enough for the Columbus pitchers.

Columbus didn’t waste any time, jumping on Moore in the top of the first. Tim Fedroff and Travis Buck led off with back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second for the middle of the lineup. Jared Goedart grounded into a fielder’s choice to erase Fedroff at third, but Beau Mills bailed him out with a double to score Buck and move Goedart to third. But, Moore buckled down and managed to get Huffman and Nick Johnson to pop out without any further damage.

McAllister was solid early, working around a 1-out double in the first to retire 12 of the first 13 he faced; he did give up a lead-off single in the third, but immediately got a double-play ball to erase the base runner. When Huffman led off the top of the fourth with his solo homer, McAllister had all the cushion he would need. He worked out of trouble in the fifth, as with one out Durham loaded the bases with two singles and a bunt. But, Zach Attack came back to strike out J.J. Furmaniak and then got Tim Beckham to foul out to right field to end the threat.

The Clippers added their final run in the top of the sixth, as Goedart and Mills led off with singles, and Huffman delivered a double to score Goedart. But, Moore was again able to wriggle out of further damage by walking the bases loaded, getting a ground-out force at home, a pop-up to second, and a strikeout. Moore went 6.2 innings, gave up three runs on nine hits, walked one, and struck out three.

Overall, McAllister went 6.0 innings, gave up just five hits, walked one, and struck out three. His bullpen then came in to slam the door. Chen-Change Lee worked 2.0 perfect innings for the hold, and Zach Putnam finished it off for the save with a perfect ninth in which he struck out the side.

Game 2 is at 7:05 tonight, again in Durham. The Fury Mitch Talbot takes the hill for Columbus, and Chris Archer will get the ball for the Bulls.

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Photo Credit: Columbus Clippers