Haase's career night powers Clippers

Indians No. 19 prospect goes yard twice, drives in six runs

Eric Haase went 5-for-20 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 13 Cactus League games. (Cathryn Wood/Columbus Clippers)

By Rob Terranova / MiLB.com | July 1, 2018 12:58 AM

Eric Haase was not supposed to play on Saturday. It's a good thing for the Columbus Clippers that he did.

The 19th-ranked Indians prospect turned in his best performance of the season, going 3-for-4 with a pair of homers, a double, a walk and a career-high six RBIs as Triple-A Columbus let an early seven-run lead slip away before walking off with a 10-9 win over Indianapolis at Huntington Park.

Video: Clips' Haase bashes second homer

"Today was one of those things where I was not supposed to play but then ended up falling into the lineup late," Haase said. "I found out about an hour before the game. Coach came over to me after BP and asked if I could DH tonight to fill in for a hurt player. So it was one of those things where you just make some adjustments on what would have been an off day, and I sped some things up to be ready and luckily it paid off.

"It was awesome. Anytime you can win a game in a walk-off, regardless of what the situation of the game was before that, it's still a win."

The 25-year-old was mired in a 2-for-16 funk that spanned his previous five games. His last long ball came on June 23, but he raised his batting average to .222, the highest it's been since May 23, and brought his RBI total to 30. The injured player he filled in for was infielder Adam Rosales, who was dealing with "something minor."

Haase got to top-ranked Pirates prospect Mitch Keller -- who was making his Triple-A debut -- in the opening frame, turning on the seventh pitch he saw from the right-hander and sending it over the wall in left-center field for a three-run dinger.

Gameday box score

In the second, Haase got to MLB.com's No. overall 13 prospect again. He attacked a first-pitch fastball and laced it into right for a two-run double that gave the Clippers a 7-0 advantage. Two innings later, he again showed excellent plate discipline and worked a six-pitch at-bat against Jesus Liranzo. The righty tried to sneak an inside fastball past Haase, but he crushed it into right-center field for a solo blast, his seventh of the year.

"I've been working on my timing a lot. I'm seeing more pitches this year than ever before. Lately, I've been fouling off a lot pitches that normally I would drive and that has hurt my production," Haase said. "But I know I'm going well when I'm driving the ball the opposite way. I mean, if I pull the ball, I pull the ball; but I know I'm going good when I'm driving it the other way."

Right-hander Dovydas Neverauskas walked Haase on four pitches in the sixth. After Jackson Williams knotted the game for Indianapolis with a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth, Haase led off the bottom of the inning and struck out on an off-speed pitch from southpaw Josh Smoker (3-1).

"In that situation, I'm always thinking that I can end the game right there," he said. "No matter what I did to that point, whether I'm 0-for-4 or 4-for-4, in that moment I'm trying to get the game over as quickly as possible. But he threw me a really good changeup there and I swung over it. It was a good pitch."

Indians No. 7 prospect Yu Chang followed Haase and drilled a 3-1 fastball to right-center for a walk-off blast.

"He's been huge for us all year," Haase said. "And for him to do that in a game that we thought we were winning from the first pitch but almost let slip away and bite us, was great. It was just awesome."

MiLB include

Top prospect Francisco Mejia turned in his eighth straight multi-hit effort for Columbus, delivering RBI doubles in the first and second innings.

Video: Clippers strike first on Mejia's double

Ben Taylor (4-1) got the win in relief, despite allowing two runs on three hits with a strikeout over the final two innings.

Keller yielded eight runs on 10 hits with two walks and three punchouts over 2 2/3 frames. No. 22 prospect Jordan Luplow turned in his third multi-hit effort in the last four games and drove in a pair of runs for Indianapolis.

Rob Terranova is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobTnova24. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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