The Columbus Clippers lost 3-2 to the Toledo Mud Hens on Sunday afternoon after another great pitching performance by Toledo’s Armando Galarraga.
A crowd of 6,092 attended the first game of a 10-game home stand for the Clippers at Huntington Park. Weather for the game was surprisingly pleasant, as the rain held off until the eighth inning.
Both the Clippers and the Mud Hens received solid performances from their starting pitchers. Hector Rondon pitched five innings for the Clippers, giving up three runs on three hits while striking out five. Clippers manager Mike Sarbaugh was pleased with Rondon’s performance.
“His last start, I thought he had a good start but just had one bad inning,” Sarbaugh said. “Today he threw well but he had one passed ball that let in a run, and he left a changeup up high to [Jeff] Larish and he put a good swing on it. Other than that, I thought he threw the ball pretty well.”
In his second start against the Clippers this year, Galarraga allowed four hits and two runs through six innings and recorded the win.
“Galarraga just has good command of his pitches,” Sarbaugh said. “He has really good sink on his fastball, and you can’t really sit on one location and one pitch. He’ll drop arm angles, and the ball moves well to both sides of the plate.”
Galarraga pitched six strong innings in a victory against the Clippers on April 15.
The Mud Hens scored first in the second inning when Casper Wells scored on a pass ball from third base.
In the top of the third inning, Will Rhymes led off the inning with a single. Rondon let up a two-run home run to Larish to make the score 3-0.
Trevor Crowe led off the fourth inning with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Wes Hodges. The Clippers scored another run in the fourth inning as Damaso Espino hit an RBI single to score Brian Bixler and bring the score to 3-2.
That would be the end of the scoring for either side as both teams had strong performances from the bullpen. Jay Sborz recorded his seventh save for the Mud Hens and leads the league in that category.
The Clippers’ record fell to a division-leading 11-7, while the Mud Hens moved to 10-8.
The team’s 11-6 record coming into the game was its best start to a season since 1999. The 1999 team finished the season 83-58, winning the division but losing in the playoffs.
Backup catcher Damaso Espino said that there is a good feeling in the dugout after a good start to the 2010 season.
“We have a great group of guys. We all get along very well and we’re rooting for each other,” Espino said. “It has been exciting and it is going to be a very fun year.”