LOUISVILE, KY- The Columbus Clippers (57-50) smoked the Louisville Bats (51-55) 8-1 Thursday night. Great offense early and dominant pitching was more than Columbus needed to smash the Bats. Toru Murata bounced back from a bad start against Indianapolis to dominate Louisville and take three of four in the series.
Murata (1-2, 5.26 ERA) faced the minimum through five innings and hadn't allowed a hit until the sixth. He pitched a seven inning two-hitter with no runs allowed, two walks and a pair of strikeouts. Brett Marshall (0-7, 9.09 ERA) had a bad night. He allowed eight runs, five earned, in five innings of work with two walks, but did strike out seven batters.
Columbus jumped out to a lead in the first. Francisco Lindor hit a one-out single and then Jesus Aguilar reached on an error by Louisville first baseman Neftali Soto. The error loomed large because with two outs Carlos Moncrief crushed a three-run homer to right.
Moncrief and the Clippers kept rolling in the second. The bases were loaded after a Luke Carlin one-out single and walks by Tyler Holt and Lindor. Aguilar hit a single to left to score Carlin. Moncrief continued his assault on the ball with a two-run single back up the middle.
The Clippers then hit back-to-back homers in the fifth. Matt Carson and Audy Ciriaco each hit solo homers with two outs and made it an 8-0 game. The homers for Carson and Ciriaco were 10 and seven respectively. The 10 homers for Ciriaco tied him with Moncrief for second on the team.
Jason Bourgeois broke up the shutout with an RBI single in the eighth.
Seven of the eight Clippers runs came with two outs. Columbus had eight hits in the game.
Moncrief's five RBI night is the second most for a Clipper. Aguilar had a six RBI game earlier in the season.
With Indianapolis' loss the Clippers ended the day alone in first in the IL West.
The first place Clippers return to Huntington Park Friday to face the Norfolk Tides for the first of four. Justin Masterson (0-0, 3.60 ERA) will make his second rehab start with the Clippers. He will face Mike Wright (1-9, 6.42 ERA) and the Norfolk Tides 7:15 p.m. in Columbus.