Bulls Outslug Clippers 12-2
DURHAM – After a stretch of great defensive performances, the Columbus Clippers (63-57) struggled on both sides of the ball on Thursday night as they fell to the Durham Bulls (57-63) by a final score of 12-2.
The loss went to Columbus starter David Huff (5-6, 5.52 ERA), who had a lackluster night to say the least. He lasted just 4.2 innings and in that time he allowed nine runs on eight hits – four of which were home runs. He also walked three and struck out four.
The Bulls got their bats going early with a two-run shot by right fielder Chris Gimenez, his sixth homer of the season. The Clippers were able to tie it with back-to-back solo shots in the top of the fourth. First baseman Matt LaPorta got things going with his 19th of the year and then left fielder Russ Canzler blasted his 17th of the year to knot the game at 2-2 going to the bottom of the fourth.
However, it was then that Durham pulled ahead and never looked back. First baseman Brooks Conrad made it 3-2 with a leadoff solo home run, but that was just a drop in the bucket compared to the Bulls’ offensive explosion in the fifth.
The fifth-inning rally began when Canzler committed a fielding error that allowed two runs to score on what was otherwise a routine base hit by Bulls shortstop Tim Beckham. This made it 5-2 and set the table for back-to-back Durham home runs. Gimenez hit his second of the game – a three-run shot – that made it 8-2, then designated hitter Henry Wrigley blasted a solo shot to center that increased the lead to 9-2.
As the Bulls continued to tack on the runs the Clippers struggled to get any rallies going against Durham starting pitcher Matt Torra (10-6, 4.16 ERA). The only runs he allowed were the two homers in the fourth. Outside of that brief hiccup, he allowed only five more hits and no walks. Columbus was unable to draw a single walk on the night.
Durham added three more runs to their lead in the sixth inning. Beckham first knocked an RBI single to left that made it 10-2. The next batter was center fielder Rich Thompson who hit a two-run triple to center field. This gave the Bulls their 12-2 lead and it brought their explosive offensive night to an end.
After splitting the series in Durham, the Clippers will return home on Friday night to begin a three-game weekend series against their division rivals, the Indianapolis Indians. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.