While the Mud Hens had played Columbus seven times in the last 10 days, the Clippers never faced Toledo left-hander Adrian Burnside in that span.
Last night Columbus saw plenty of the 27-year-old Burnside, who shut them out on two hits over seven innings to lead the Hens to a 4-0 victory. The win, played before a crowd of 10,300 fans at Fifth Third Field, was Toledo's third in the last four games, and its fourth victory in its last five at home.
"My slider was really sharp,'' said Burnside, who evened his record at 4-4 with his second straight win. "It wasn't great in the bullpen, but when I threw my first one in the game it broke really hard and I said, 'Whoa!' "
So did Columbus hitters. The southpaw struck out four of the first six batters he faced, and the Clippers didn't even have a runner reach second until there was one out in the seventh.
"Columbus is a club that really hits left-handers, so that was outstanding, " said manager Larry Parrish, noting that the Clippers entered the game with a .303 batting average against lefties. "He had good depth to his breaking ball, and he must have had a little pop on his fastball. "
While Burnside kept Columbus off the scoreboard, the Toledo offense was busy building a lead against Clippers starter Carlos Reyes. Danny Klassen opened the second by extending his hit streak to nine games with a single, then moved to second on Chad Alexander's single up the middle. One out
later Rayner Bautista singled to left to bring home Klassen.
The Hens pushed home two more runs in the sixth. Klassen again got the rally rolling with a first-pitch double high off the wall in left, then moved to third on a flyout by Alexander. With the infield in, Warren Morris blooped an RBI single to right.
Bautista singled to right and Guillermo Rodriguez walked to load the bases, and Eric Owens hit an RBI single to left to extend his hit streak to eight games.
Toledo added a run in the seventh when Alexander tripled off the wall in right-center; Alexander might have scored, except the relay throw that got past Homer Bush hit Parrish in the third-base coaching box and stayed in play. One pitch later Alexander did come home when Morris singled up the middle.
"Danny started two rallies, and Morris got a couple of big hits," Parrish said. "And Bautista got a big hit. It looks like he's getting more comfortable hitting at this level."
It looked as if the Hens might need all of those runs when Columbus mounted a rally off Matt Anderson in the eighth. A single and two walks loaded the bases with two outs, but Jason Karnuth - who had given up a grand-slam homer in Wednesday's loss - came out of the bullpen to get Andy Phillips to ground into an inning-ending force.
Karnuth then retired the Clippers in the ninth to claim his first Triple-A save.
"As soon as I leave the clubhouse, what happened is in the past," Karnuth said. "I always try to keep the ball down and get ahead in the count; Thursday I got a ball up. Today I kept the ball down."
Today the Hens begin an eight-game road trip before the All-Star break by traveling to Pawtucket. The Hens will start right-hander Shane Loux (6-7), while the Red Sox counter with right-hander Tim Kester (7-6).
NOTES: Last night's game was the 11th sellout this season and the 64th in three years at Fifth Third Field. The start was delayed 10 minutes. The Mud Hens expected to have weather problems at 7 p.m. and told both teams to not have their starting pitchers warm up at the usual time. When it was certain the weather would not delay the start, the starting pitchers were allowed to warm up. Outfielder Nook Logan was not in the starting lineup, marking just the third game he did not start this season.