Thanks in large part to a seven run sixth inning, Gwinnett easily coasted to 9-2 win over Columbus at Coolray Field.
The bottom of the third featured one of the more bizarre delays in recent memory. Dave Soucy, who started the game as the home plate umpire, was struck on the hand by a Daisuke Matsuzaka pitch that bounced off of home plate and clipped him on the index finger. Soucy left the game because of injury, leading to a fourteen minute delay before Will Little took over behind the plate.
Matsuzaka (ND), making his first start since April 28th, pitched the first 2 2/3 innings, blanking the Braves on two hits. He had to leave the game early with what looked like a thumb ailment on his right hand.
The Braves would go on to crack the scoreboard with a Paul Janish single in the bottom of the fourth. Another run would cross the plate for Gwinnett in the bottom of the fifth. Todd Cunningham came all the way around from first to score after a pickoff attempt from Clippers catcher Chris Wallace was nowhere near first base.
A peculiar play occurred in the top of the sixth. Columbus had runners on first and second with one out. The batter, Chun Chen, popped up an Omar Poveda pitch. The ball was initially above foul ground, but somehow found its way into fair territory near home plate. Lonnie Chisenhall beat the throw to third. The problem was Chisenhall slid off the bag as he was tagged out by the covering Janish. It was later determined by the umpires that an infield fly rule took effect during the play, effectively making it one of the stranger inning ending double plays to ever take place in a baseball game.
The very next inning, the Braves put up a crooked number on the scoreboard. Jose Yepez drove home a run with an RBI sacrifice fly, RBI singles by Jose Constanza and Todd Cunningham, a two run single by Ernesto Mejia and a two run shot by Joey Terdoslavich made up the scoring during a seven run sixth for Gwinnett.
Despite a Nate Spears solo homer in the top of the seventh and a Chisenhall RBI double in the ninth, it would be the Braves taking this game while earning a split in the four game series. Omar Poveda (W, 5-3) got the win for Gwinnett. The Venezuelan righty was very sharp on the mound, striking out seven while blanking the Clippers on five hits in six innings of work. Paulo Espino (L, 0-3) took the loss for Columbus.
The Clippers will have an off-day on Wednesday as they travel to Knights Stadium to begin a four game series with Charlotte. The series will begin on Thursday night. Columbus will have Trevor Bauer (2-2, 4.02) get the start on the mound. The starter for Charlotte has yet to be determined. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 PM.