COLUMBUS, Ohio — On the strength of a six-run bottom of the first inning, the Columbus Clippers beat the Gwinnett Braves by a 9-3 score on Sunday afternoon in the finale of the three-game series at Huntington Park.
The Clippers (35-33) swept the three-game series, sending the G-Braves (35-33) to a 3-3 record on the six-game road trip.
The game could not have started much worse for G-Braves' starting pitcher Patrick Weigel, who loaded the bases with none out on a walk, hit batter and single. RBI singles by Richie Shaffer and Eric Stamets put the Clippers ahead 2-0 before the first out was recorded. Mike Papi lifted a sacrifice fly to center scoring Chris
Colabello for a 3-0 lead, and with two outs, Ronny Rodriguez crushed a three-run home run to left to make it 6-0.
Columbus pushed the lead to 8-0 in the second as Shaffer socked a two-run homer to deep left off Weigel.
Gwinnett finally got on the board in the top of the fourth when Matt Tuiasosopo led off with a double to center off Columbus starter Chris Narveson and scored from second on a single by Carlos Franco. Later in the inning, a walk to David Freitas and an error on a ball hit by Stephen Gaylor loaded the bases. Ozzie Albies followed with a single to right, scoring Franco and Freitas to cut the Columbus lead to 8-3.
However, the Clippers would go deep again in the bottom of the fourth. Brandon Guyer, playing on a rehab assignment for the Cleveland Indians, drilled a solo homer to left off Weigel for a 9-3 advantage.
Weigel (L, 3-2) pitched 3.1 innings with seven hits, nine earned runs, three walks and two strikeouts. Relievers Akeel Morris, Enrique Burgos and Rhiner Cruz combined to strike out eight over 4.2 scoreless innings to finish the game.
Narveson (W, 1-4) pitched 5.2 innings with six hits, three runs (one earned), two walks and two strikeouts for Columbus. Jeff Johnson, David Speer and Joe Colon combined on 3.1 innings of scoreless, two-hit baseball in relief.
At the plate for the G-Braves, Sean Kazmar Jr. was 2-for-4 with two doubles. Albies went 1-for-5 with two RBIs to run his season-best on-base streak to 16 games. Tuiasosopo was 1-for-5 with a double and a run scored, extending his on-base streak to 15 games.
Columbus was led by Shaffer, who was 2-for-3 with his 16th homer and three RBIs, and Rodriguez, who was 2-for-4 with his fifth homer and three RBIs.
The G-Braves now return home to Coolray Field to begin a seven-game homestand. Game one of a four-game series vs. the Charlotte Knights is set for Monday at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Kris Medlen (0-1, 3.86 ERA) will start for Gwinnett, while Charlotte will counter with right-hander Tyler Danish (1-5, 3.86 ERA).