With the loss the Indians fall to 0-3 on the season, while the win gives the Clippers a 3-0 record and their seventh victory in-a-row over the Tribe dating back to last season. The contest, which lasted three hours and 49 minutes, was the longest at Victory Field since Indianapolis and the Louisville Bats played a four hour and nine minute, 16 inning contest on September 4, 2009.
Columbus would not go away quietly after the Indians jumped ahead 6-2 with four runs in the seventh, responding with three runs of their own in the top of the eighth before adding two in the ninth and the game-winner in the tenth. The Clippers took home the victory with some excellent execution as following RF Jerad Head's double to lead off the 10th, a sacrifice bunt and run scoring groundout pushed the eventual game-winning run over the plate.
3B Lonnie Chisenhall continued to swing a hot bat as he began the Clippers' eighth inning rally with a lead-off double to center. Then, after LF Chad Huffman followed Chisenhall's two-bagger with a base on balls, the pair trotted home when 2B Jason Kipnis launched a two-run triple to left-center field, before Kipnis came plateward himself on a Tribe throwing error.
Columbus continued their late inning magic with what looked like to be a game-winning two-run rally in the ninth. The red hot Ezequiel Carrera started the ninth inning rally with a lead-off line drive single to center, moved to second when SS Cord Phelps followed with a base hit of his own and moved up to third when Huffman drew his second walk of the evening.
Kipnis then lifted a sacrifice fly to straight away center to even the score at six, before veteran Jordan Brown came through with a clutch two-out base hit to plate Phelps and give the Clippers a 7-6 advantage.
However, the Indians night was not over as with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Presley came through with a clutch solo home run to right field to send the game to extras. The longball was the Tribe's first homer of the season and Presley's second extra-base hit of the contest, but it wasn't enough as Columbus came through with the extra-inning magic to earn the victory.
The Indians looked well on the way to their first victory of the season as the offense broke out in the seventh inning, plating four runs on five hits, two wild pitches and a throwing error. 3B Josh Harrison began the offensive outbreak with a lead-off single before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by C Wyatt Toregas, to third on a wild pitch and coming plateward on a base hit by CF Gorkys Hernandez.
Then after SS Chase d'Arnaud followed with a base hit of his own, the pair each moved up 90 feet on a Clipper's throwing error, which later allowed Hernandez to trot home on a Columbus wild pitch. Presley continued the one-out rally with a line drive triple to deep-center field to plate d'Arnaud, before trotting home himself when DH Corey Wimberly roped a single over a drawn-in Clippers infield to gave the Tribe a 6-2 lead.
For the third straight night, the Indians found themselves trailing early as Head not only scored the final run of the contest, but also put the Clippers on the board first when he blasted a two-out solo shot to deeper right-center field in the third inning. The home run was the first of year for Head and the second of the short season for Columbus after Chisenhall connected on a solo shot of his own on April 8.
Carrera followed Head's solo blast with a walk and steal of second, before speeding all the way home on a soft single by SS Cord Phelps. The 23-year-old is off to a blazing start in 2011 as he also added three hits on the evening to improve his average to an impressive .538 (7-for-13).
The Indians would answer the Clippers' two spot with two tallies of their own in the fifth inning, sparked by C Wyatt Toregas, who began the rally by taking a hit by pitch. CF Gorkys Hernandez followed Toregas' bean ball with a walk to set the stage for d'Arnaud, who lifted a double to left to plate both Toregas and Hernandez and even the score at 2-2.
The top of the Tribe lineup broke out in a big way as Hernandez (2-for-4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB), d'Arnaud (2-for-5, 1 R, 2 RBI) and Presley (2-for-4, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB) combined to go 6-for-13 with five runs and five RBI. Overall, five Indians batters posted multi-hit efforts with 1B Matt Hague (2-for-4, 1 BB) and 3B Josh Harrison (2-for-4, 1 R) also collecting multiple base knocks.
Indians starter Justin Wilson (6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO) turned in a solid outing in his Triple-A debut, as the left hander allowed just two runs and struck out six over six innings of work. Wilson dominated in the early going as he struck out five of the first seven batters he faced, and battled through the middle frames to become the first Tribe pitcher to reach six innings this season.
Columbus starter Alex White also made his Triple-A debut on Saturday night, matching Wilson with six strikeouts over five strong innings of work. White (5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO), who was rated the number two prospect in the Cleveland Indians organization according to Baseball America prior to the season, allowed just two runs on only three hits.
However, it would become a battle of the bullpens as despite blowing the save, Columbus reliever Josh Judy (2.0 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO) earned the victory to improve to 1-0 on the season, while Tribe left hander Tony Watson (1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 0-1.
The Indians and Clippers wrap up their four-game season-opening series on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. RHP Zach McAllister is scheduled to start for Columbus, while Indianapolis has yet to name a starter.
The contest will be carried on WNDE 1260 AM, WNDE.com and via iheartradio, a mobile application for iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones, while also being broadcast live on Comcast and Bright House Networks digital channel 81 with Howard Kellman and Scott McCauley on the call. The pre-game show begins at 1:45 p.m.