COLUMBUS, OH - For seven innings on Tuesday, the Clippers lineup struggled from the plate, mustering just one run off one hit. The Clippers’ bats exploded in the eighth bringing the deficit to one, but wasn’t enough to pull out the victory. Columbus fell to 21-24 and now sit in last place in the International League West.
Louisville pitcher Homer Bailey was reinstated from the disabled list and got the call to start Tuesday morning against the Clippers. Bailey was impressive and virtually unhittable all afternoon. In 5 2/3 innings, Bailey gave up just one unearned run and struck out seven in the victory. Bailey increased his record to 4-1, and now carries a 1.99 ERA.
The Clippers’ Anastacio Martinez couldn’t adjust himself to the 11:35 a.m. start time, suffering his first loss of the season. Martinez, now 1-1, struggled on the mound and couldn’t find his location. In four innings, he allowed four runs, although only three were earned. He gave up six hits, while walking four batters. His troubles started early in the first inning when Louisville’s Jeff Keppinger led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Martinez bounced back to strike out the final two batters to retire the side.
In the bottom of the first, Brandon Watson led off with a drag bunt that Louisville pitcher Homer Bailey couldn’t handle. His throw sailed over first base and into the Clippers dugout, sending Watson to second.
Brent Abernathy grounded back to Bailey, allowing Watson to advance to third with only one out. Kory Casto then grounded out to first baseman Joey Votto, but Watson was able to score from third putting the Clippers in the early lead.
The Clippers’ lead diminished quickly in the second inning, as the Bats began to rough up Martinez. Both Votto and Dickerson singled, putting two runners on with one out. Bailey then helped his own cause, driving a pitch into the gap in right center for a two-run single.
With the Bats leading 2-1 in third inning, Dewayne Wise went with the outside pitch, poking it into right field for an RBI triple. Martinez allowed one more run in the fourth inning, when Mark Bellhorn singled to score Bailey, pushing the Louisville lead to 4-1.
Edward Valdez came on in relief in the fifth, pitching two scoreless innings while allowing only one hit. Arnie Munoz appeared in the seventh inning, but gave up the eventual game-winning home run. Following a one out single by Votto, Munoz left a pitch up in the zone to Earl Snyder that he slammed over the fence in left field. Munoz got out of the inning with no further damage, but the Louisville lead had grown to 6-1.
The Clippers offense came alive in the eighth inning. Erick San Pedro drew a walk to lead off. Darnell McDonald, who had the day off, came off the bench to pinch-hit for a single. Watson walked to load the bases with no outs. Abernathy then hammered a ball up the middle, allowing San Pedro to score easily. With the bases still loaded and the lead cut to 6-2, Louisville got help from its defense. Casto lined a shot to right, but Votto made a great snag at first, then flipped it over to second for the 3-6 double play. The double play proved vital after the next hitter, Michael Restovich, laced a fast ball over the right field fence for a three-run homer. The home run brought the Clippers within one at 6-5, but couldn’t put together another threat.
Highlights: Brandon Watson beat out a bunt in the 3rd inning, extending his hitting streak to 21 games, 2nd longest in Clippers history. The current record is 24 games, set by Brian Raabe in 1999. Watson also reached base four times, increasing his on-base percentage to .348.
After being sent back to Columbus from Washington, Michael Restovich hit his fourth home run of the season and looks to be on track for a successful season.
Although Martinez struggled throughout the afternoon, there was a bright spot to his day. After giving up an RBI triple to Wise in the third inning, Martinez came back to strike out Conway looking with the bases loaded, ending the threat and getting out of the jam.
D’Angelo Jimenez went 1-for-1 in a pinch hitting role, boosting his batting average to .368.
Hope to forget: The Clippers struck out nine times as a team on Tuesday.
How they scored:
Columbus 1st: Casto ground out scored Watson. Clippers, 1-0.
Louisville 2nd: Bailey single scored Votto and Dickerson. Bats, 2-1.
Louisville 3rd: Wise triple scored Machado. Bats, 3-1.
Louisville 4th: Bellhorn single scored Bailey. Bats, 4-1.
Louisville 7th: Snyder home run scored Votto. Bats, 6-1.
Columbus 8th: Abernathy single scored San Pedro. Restovich home run scored McDonald and Abernathy. Bats, 6-5.
Up Next for Columbus: The Clippers will enjoy an off-day Wednesday before returning to Cooper Stadium to host Toledo for two games Thursday and Friday. They will then travel on a ten game road trip.