Hermida leads big inning in 11-4 Clippers win
Tomlin scuffles in rehab appearance
COLUMBUS, OH- After a bad inning from Josh Tomlin ruined an otherwise brilliant first rehab appearance in Columbus, a good inning for the Clippers' bats won them the game over the Gwinnett Braves by a final score of 11-4.
Down 4-2 in the top of the sixth with an out in the inning, the Clippers had only managed two runs on three hits off of Braves starter Yohan Flande. Upon his exit, however, things blew up quickly.
Gwinnett reliever Andrew Russell entered the game with Flande's runners on first and second looking to end the inning with no harm done. That would be essentially the opposite of the reality he faced.
A balk and a walk to Matt Carson -- who homered to give the Clippers their two runs to that point -- loaded the bases for pinch-hitter Jeremy Hermida. The veteran slugger delivered, knocking in a run on a single up the middle to get the Clippers to within a run at 4-3.
The Hermida delivery was followed by another pinch-hitter, Nate Spears, who hit a sac-fly that tied the game at 4-4. With two outs in the inning, the Clippers were only just beginning to heat up.
Catcher Roberto Perez hit a double down the right-field line and gave the Clippers a 5-4 lead, bringing up Tim Fedroff who threw the knockout punch with a majestic drive over the top of the Wendy's Hamburger Balcony in right-field that put Columbus up by an 8-4 margin.
Overall, the Clippers scored six-straight runs off of Russell in the inning, although two of those runs belonged to Flande.
Before the magical inning of offense from the Clippers, the story was Tomlin and his first rehab start in Triple-A.
Coming into his eighth rehab appearance of the season after Tommy John surgery in August 2012, Tomlin had been brilliant. In 12.1 innings of work, he only allowed a single run on five hits. In just one inning on Thursday night, however, those numbers took a massive blow.
Tomlin blew through the Gwinnett lineup the first time around in just 29 pitches but ran into trouble in the top of the fourth inning as the Braves lineup got their second look at him.
A leadoff single -- the third in four innings -- from center fielder Todd Cunningham followed by a double from second baseman Alden Carrithers gave the Braves runners in scoring position. Tomlin was able to get the next two batters out without a run scoring, and just when he looked as he was going to get out of the jam unscathed, designated hitter Stefan Gartrell smacked a double in the gap that brought both runners home and gave Gwinnett a 2-0 lead.
Another double from third baseman Joe Leonard extended that lead to 3-0 and finally, after 25 pitches, three runs, and five hits, the hellish inning was over.
While he had complete control of his pitches, throwing 50 of his 66 pitches for strikes, Tomlin's lack of velocity may have haunted him. For the majority of the night, Tomlin sat right around 89 on the radar gun, but dipped as low as 69 when he used his off-speed arsenal.
Overall, Tomlin allowed three runs on seven hits without a walk in five innings, but when you take away that unfortunate fourth the stats look much different. In the other four innings, Tomlin allowed no runs and three hits on just 41 pitches.
While all eyes were on Tomlin, it was Braves starter Flande who was stealing the show at the time.
Flande had trouble controlling his pitches, but the Clippers had a tougher time hitting them. In the first 3.2 innings of the game, Flande was no-hitting the Clippers despite walking two.
It wasn't until there were two outs in the bottom of the fourth until they finally had an answer for Flande, but the answer was a big one.
After a walk to Juan Diaz extended the inning, Carson drilled Flande's offering deep over the wall in left field for his 15th home run of the season and brought the Clippers back to within a run at 3-2.
A perfect fifth gave Flande one more inning, during which he recorded one out, walked a batter, and allowed just his third hit of the game before exiting after 5.1 innings and allowing the aforementioned Russell into the game and the chaos to ensue.
Flande's final line showed four runs on three hits, four walks, and five strike outs in those 5.1 innings of work.
Lost in all of the chaos was Indians free agent pick-up and Clippers reliever, Blake Wood, who struggled for an inning of his own.
In his only inning of work, Wood allowed two walks, a hit, and a run that gave the Braves their 4-2 advantage. Wood is in a very similar situation to Tomlin's, as he too is coming off of Tommy John surgery. The difference, however, is that Wood came to Cleveland from Kansas City and is no longer rehabbing the elbow injury.
A fielding error from Gwinnett first baseman Ernesto Mejia that should have ended the inning instead extended it and gave Jeremy Hermida another opportunity to put more runs on the board.
Once again, Hermida delivered an RBI single to center and gave the Clippers a 9-4 lead. With runners on first and third, Braves reliever Juan Cedeno threw a wild pitch and handed the Clippers their 10th run.
The Clippers used their third long-ball to add their 11th and final run of the game when Ryan Rohlinger drilled a liner into the left-field seats for his eighth home run of the season in the bottom of the eighth.
The Clippers (65-68) are back at it against Gwinnett (56-77) tomorrow night in the second game of this three-game series.
First pitch from Huntington Park is set for 7:05 p.m.