Moore, Clevinger return Clippers to titletown

Columbus wins decisive fifth game, third Governors' Cup in six years

By Robert Emrich / MiLB.com | September 20, 2015 12:16 AM

The Governors' Cup has a new home, and it's a familiar one.

Adam Moore collected three hits and an RBI, and Mike Clevinger completed a dominant postseason with 7 2/3 scoreless innings Saturday as Columbus beat Indianapolis, 3-0, to win its third International League championship in six years.

Moore put the Clippers on the board with a run-scoring single in the top of the first inning. The 31-year-old catcher helped pad the lead in the fourth with a double as Jesus Aguilar came all the way around to score on an error by left fielder Keon Broxton.

"My No. 1 job is to run our pitching staff and to get them through innings and tough times on the mound. The bat is a bonus in my book," Moore said. "To go out there and contribute the way I did with the bat, it was a lot of fun and it felt good. I was seeing the ball well this series."

Making his first start in the Finals, Clevinger silenced the Indians on five hits and a walk while striking out seven.

"I felt like everything was working tonight," the Indians' 15th-ranked prospect said. "Changeup was definitely clutch. That was my big pitch tonight, the changeup."

Clevinger spent the regular season with Double-A Akron before joining the Clippers for the playoffs. In two starts, the 24-year-old right-hander gave up five hits and struck out 17 over 15 1/3 shutout innings, with both starts coming in decisive fifth games.

"The guy is fearless," Moore said. "He gets the ball, you call it, he pitches it. It makes our job as a catcher a lot easier, for a guy to have the kind of stuff he does and to be able to locate his pitches and not to rely on his fastball all night. For him to contribute the way he did, the two Game 5s in the playoffs, that says a lot about him and his character. He's a great pitcher and he's going to have a bright future, that's for sure."

C.C. Lee struck out the final batter in the eighth before giving way to Carlos Marmol, who worked around a hit and struck out one in the ninth to close out the Clippers' first title since repeating in 2011. For Moore, who spent part of the 2013 season with Pacific Coast League champion Omaha, this was his first Minor League title.

"It means a lot," the veteran backstop said. "It's a lot of fun. We had a great group of guys, we all stuck together through thick and thin, a lot of moves up and down, like any Triple-A club. Didn't matter. One through nine in that lineup, the five starters we had and the bullpen, we were all contributors. We all believed in one another. It was a complete team effort and it was a lot of fun. We had a blast playing for each other."

Clevinger echoed Moore's sentiments.

"I haven't been part of something like this before," he said. "I'm on cloud nine right now. I didn't expect to be coming up here. Coming up here, I had no idea what I was in store. They fought their butts off all season and that drove me to keep it going."

Michael Choice was named MVP of the Championship Series after going 9-for-14 with three homers and six RBIs.

"If I could name Mr. Clutch, it's Michael Choice," Clevinger said. "That three-run blast last night, I thought was the series sealer. He's been swinging the hottest bat I've seen. He's a great player and an amazing talent."

Erik Gonzalez slugged a solo homer for the Clippers.

Columbus will travel to El Paso on Tuesday to play the winner of the PCL Finals for the Triple-A National Championship.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich.nic This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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