Columbus, Bauer fall 4-2 to Bulls
Bauer labors through five innings as Clippers fail to mount comeback
COLUMBUS- The Clippers looked poised to make a comeback in the bottom of the eighth but a twin killing destroyed the rally and Columbus eventually fell to the Durham Bulls 4-2 Saturday.
First baseman Chun-Hsiu Chen blasted a near-home run off the right field wall but it turned into a long single. Designated hitterJeremy Hermida then singled to right to put two runners on with no outs. In the following at-bat, shortstop Juan Diaz smoked a liner to first but the ball was caught and Hermida was doubled off at first. Right fielder Matt Carson grounded out to end the inning.
“Diaz ended up putting together a good at-bat,” Columbus managerChris Tremie said. “He hit a line drive right at the first baseman and we kind of get caught off first base on a double play. A lot of times those are tough reads when the ball is hit right at the runner and we were unable to get back. It kind of put the momentum back in their hands and that’s kind of how the game went tonight.”
Bulls closer Kirby Yates dominated the ninth inning, setting down the Clippers in order to finish the contest.
Bauer (5-3, 3.73 ERA) had a respectable outing but threw too many pitches and could only make it to the fifth inning where an error by second baseman Luis Hernandez and a string of walks set up for two Durham runs. All in all, Bauer allowed three runs on six hits with two strikeouts and three walks.
“He mixed up all his pitches and in a couple of innings using a lot of pitches to get through them. At the end, through five innings he ended up pretty high up there,” Tremie said
Although Bauer did not last as long as Tremie had hoped, he kept the game close to give the Clippers a chance to win.
“He threw the ball well overall he just couldn’t put away the pitch to Figueroa there, left the ball up. That inning kind of started off with an error and he ended up giving up a couple walks. I think the key was probably more the walks than the one hit. Overall pretty good outing. He kept us in the ballgame through five innings.”
Durham’s J.D. Martin (13-4, 2.76 ERA) earned the victory after an solid six-inning two run performance with four punch outs and two free passes.
Bauer labored through the first, loading the bases on a single and two walks before inducing a groundout by left fielder Jason Bourgeois to end the inning.
The Clippers tallied two runs between the first and second inning with the aid of several fielding blunders by the Bulls.
Left fielder Esquire Carrera lead off the bottom half of the first with a soft bunt single down the third base line. After a bloop single by Chen, Hermida grounded into a fielder’s choice to put runners at the corners. Diaz hit a lazy roller on the right side of the infield and Martin threw the ball to first but it was dropped by Vince Belnome to allow the run to score.
In the following inning, third baseman Ryan Rohlinger and second baseman Luis Hernandez smacked consecutive doubles. Catcher Roberto Perez lofted a pitch to mid-center field and Rohlinger tagged up in attempt to score. The throw by center fielder Kevin Kiermaier was right on the money but Rohlinger punched the ball out of catcher Chris Gimenez’s glove to reach home safely.
Bauer appeared to regain his collectedness, gliding through the second and third frames before finding himself in another predicament. Again, the right-hander filled the bases but unlike the previous time, he did not come out unscathed.
Figueroa zipped a two-out two-run single up the middle to even the score. A hard-hit ball off the bat of shortstop Tim Beckham looked as though it would carom off the left field wall but Carrera made a leaping grab to against the fence to potentially save any more runs from scoring.
Carrera’s Spider-Man-esque abilities did not end there. After the Bulls took their first advantage of the game with an RBI base hit by Bourgeois, second baseman Mike Fontenot popped up a ball to shallow left field. Luis Hernandez came racing over from second and positioned himself under the ball for what appeared to be a routine catch.
But even professional baseball players make mistakes. The ball bounced in and out of Hernandez’s mitt but racing in, Carrera came to the rescue and made a leaping catch to record the out.
Joe Martinez entered the game in the sixth and tossed two shutout innings before surrendering a run in the top of the eighth. Fontenot launched a double deep off the center field wall with a man on to give Durham the 4-2 lead.
The loss drops Columbus further in the standings to 51-58.
The Clippers and Bulls are scheduled to play game three of their series Sunday at 6:05 p.m. with a battle between two top-pitching prospects. Right-hander Danny Salazar (3-2, 3.28 ERA) will take the bump for Columbus and fellow righty Jake Odorize (7-4, 3.64 ERA) of Durham will pitch opposite him.
Ethan can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter @ethanjday