COLUMBUS, OHIO - Richie Shaffer's three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth proved to be just enough for the Columbus Clippers as they held off the Indianapolis Indians on Tuesday night, 3-2. The Clipper victory sliced the Tribe's lead over Columbus to one and a half games.
The Indians (59-50) loaded the bases in the top of the ninth inning with just one out, but the rally was halted when Elias Diaz grounded into a double play to end the game.
Steven Brault (8-5) dominated Clipper batters through five innings. He had tallied seven strikeouts and allowed just two hits when Shaffer stepped to the plate with two on and one out in the sixth, but Shaffer belted his 24th home run of the season to break a scoreless deadlock and give Columbus (57-51) the lead.
Indianapolis (59-50) brought two runs back with two outs in the eighth. With Diaz and Gift Ngoepe on base, Christopher Bostick doubled to center field to trim the deficit to just one run. Five of the seven Tribe hits on the night came in the eighth and ninth innings, but the two rallies were not enough.
Ryan Merritt (8-5) allowed just two hits over six innings to earn the victory for Columbus. He struck out four and did not issue a free pass.
Brault was handed the loss despite only conceding three hits. The start marked the first time since April 27 that Brault had given up more than two earned runs in an outing. Angel Sanchez and Dan Runzler each recorded scoreless frames out of the bullpen.
The two teams will continue their big series on Wednesday night in Columbus; first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. The game can be heard live on Fox Sports 97.5 FM / 1260 AM WNDE. Clay Holmes (7-5, 3.45) will be the starter for Indianapolis.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.