NAPA, Calif. -- The Clippers secured their second victory of 2018 on Wednesday, defeating the Napa Silverados by a score of 9-8 in 11 thrilling innings that featured both a grand slam and a four-run blown save on the part of the Clippers.
The Clippers took a 2-0 lead after the top of the first on a Cannella (2-6) two-out two-run single, but Josh Montelongo (1-5) would respond in the bottom half with a two-out two-run homer.
With the score tied at two, a pair of singles in the Clippers’ half of the 2nd by Wilkyns Jimenez (2-5) and Chris Caffrey (1-2, Clippers debut) combined with a four-pitch walk to Alan Mocahbee would load the bases for Jimmy Lunardelli. Lunardelli would blast his third home run of the year over the left field fence on an 0-1 fastball for the first grand slam of the season for Martinez, giving the Clippers a 6-2 lead.
The Silverados got one back in the bottom of the 4th on a Nicco Toni (4-5) home run, as Connor Kelly was chased from the game after just 3 2/3 innings. Chris Powell, in his Clippers debut, got Nick Gotta (3-5) to ground out to shut down Napa with two on - Powell retired all four he faced.
The Clippers responded in the top of the 5th, taking advantage of a throwing error on an attempted pickoff with runners on the corners and two away to score Will Decker (0-5). The score would remain at 7-3 until the bottom of the 9th inning, despite the Clippers stranding nine from that point onward (including leaving the bases loaded in the top of the 9th) - with the Silverados having used six pitchers on Tuesday, and rapidly running out.
In the bottom of the 9th, with the Clippers up by four, a solo homer by Dominic Bethancourt (2-5) forced Jacob Hill to come on to try to get the save for Martinez and secure the victory. With the bases clear, Hill allowed a double and a pair of walks to load the bases with the tying run on first base. Phil Richmond then came on for the Clippers, allowing a walk to Josh Montelongo, an RBI single to Nicco Toni, and another walk to Deandre Ashbury-Heath to tie the ballgame and put the winning run 90 feet away with just one out in the 9th. Richmond, facing Jordan Anderson, struck out the right fielder on three straight pitches, and then got Kai Davis to hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning with the score tied at seven.
In the top of the 10th inning, a tiebreaker was used that saw the last two batted outs (Perez and Compton for Martinez) placed on first and second with none out. Alan Mocahbee, the first man to bat for the Clippers in the 10th, grounded a base hit into left that scored Perez and game the Clippers an 8-7 lead, even as Zach Compton was thrown out rounding second base on the play.
In the bottom of the 10th, Phil Richmond came out once more for the Clippers, now in line for the win - but with Jordan Anderson starting at second base in the tiebreaker, a bunt mishandled by the Clippers infield loaded the bases for a sac fly by Nick Gotta to retie the game at eight. With the tying run 90 feet away and one out again for the Silverados, Phil Richmond intentionally walked Ray Jones to bring up Nick Kern. Kern, trying desperately to get under a pitch, grounded one weakly to Richmond on the mound that he took home for the force out. A lineout to deep left field closed out the 10th inning, with the Clippers coming up.
In the 11th, an RBI fielder’s choice by Nathan Etheridge (2-5) scored what would become the game’s winning run, making the score 9-8 Martinez.
In the bottom of the 11th, Nick Kern began the inning on second base. Kern, who leads the team in stolen bases, tacked on one more with Nicco Toni at bat. Toni, with an infield single, would load the bases with none out and the winning run at second base for Ashbury-Heath, who struck out.
With one out and the bases still loaded, Jordan Anderson hit a high pop-up directly above home plate, as the infield fly rule was called, putting out Anderson. As the popup landed in fair territory untouched, Coz Cannella picked up the baseball and tagged out baserunner Nick Kern, who was unaware that the infield fly rule had been called, as Kern broke for home - incorrectly believing that the force on him had not been removed. This absurd play resulted in an unassisted game-ending double play credited to Coz Cannella.
The Clippers snapped a six-game winning streak for the Napa Silverados, as Martinez won its first game in seven. The Clippers improve to 2-10 on the year, as the Silverados drop to 7-5.
The Clippers will continue this six-game road trip with two games against the Sonoma Stompers at Arnold Field on Thursday and Friday. Coverage begins at 5:50 P.T. for a 6:05 p.m. first pitch, as RHP Joe Jones takes the mound for Martinez on Thursday.
Tickets are available for Clippers home games at mtzclippers.com.