They had to wait an extra day, but after a 14-year drought, it was well worth it. The Clippers routed the Durham Bulls Friday night, 13-2, winning the Governors' Cup three games to one.
It is the first Cup for Columbus since 1996, marking the longest draught in franchise history. It's the eighth Governors' Cup for the Clippers since 1979, the most in the International League in that time span.
Clipper of the Year Jose Constanza led off the game with a double that set the tone for the Columbus offense. He came around to score the game's opening run.
In the second, Columbus scored three times, including a solo home run for Jason Kipnis. For Kipnis, who was called up for the Governors' Cup series to replace Drew Sutton on the roster, it was just the start of a big night. He followed up the dinger with a single in the third, a double in the fifth and a triple in the sixth, making him the first Clipper to hit for the cycle in more than five years.
The Clippers then manufactured a run in the fourth, plated two on a Josh Rodriguez single in the fifth, and put the nail in the coffin with a four-run sixth. That frame featured four extra-base hits from Columbus hitters, including an RBI-double from Jerad Head, who had four hits on the night.
Cord Phelps, Jared Goedert and Rodriguez all had three hits for the Clippers.
Paolo Espino got the close-out win for the second straight series, scattering nine hits over six innings, allowing single runs in the third and fourth innings. Aaron Laffey, Zach Putnam and Vinnie Pestano all put up scoreless innings to clinch the cup.
The Clippers will now play in the nationally televised Triple-A Championship Game in Oklahoma City on Tuesday night. Columbus will represent the International League and take on the Pacific Coast League Champion.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.