Clippers force extra innings, earn 5-4 victory over Braves
The Columbus Clippers scored the final three runs of the game in a 5-4 comeback victory over the Gwinnett Braves on Thursday night.
COLUMBUS, OH – Columbus second basemen Ryan Rohlinger singled to left in the 11th inning to complete the comeback for the Clippers (8-11) over the visiting Gwinnett Braves 5-4 on Thursday night at Huntington Park.
Gwinnett (12-8) played from ahead through the middle innings after a sacrifice fly by Edward Salcedo gave them the lead in the fourth inning.
A single by Steven Lerud put them up by two, a lead that would stand until the seventh inning when Jose Ramirez drove in Roberto Perez on a bunt single. Lerud and pitcher Pedro Beato both went after the ball. Beato fielded the ball, but threw off target to first. Ramirez beat the throw, nonetheless, and was credited with a hit and RBI on the play.
Clippers righty Tyler Cloyd (1-2) came into the game, especially adverse to pitching at Huntington Park this season amassing a staggering 14.53 ERA in 8.2 innings. Things were not much better on this night.
He labored through 4.2 innings, allowing a hit in each frame. His best inning was the first inning when he gave up a leadoff double to former Clipper Jose Constanza, and then picked him off at second during the next at-bat.
“(Cloyd) kept us in the game," Clippers manager Chris Tremie said. "He left some pitches up and gave up quite a few hits. He gave up four runs but he kept us in the game. I’m sure he’s probably not a hundred percent happy, but he gave us a chance. I’d like to see him keep going out there and doing that and I’m sure he’ll have other outing that he’s happier with. He did a great job with damage control and not letting the game get out of hand.”
Gwinnett manager Brian Snitker must have been feeling sympathetic to Tremie because he sent Tommy La Stella home from first on a double to right-center from Ernesto Mejia. The relay from Clippers center fielder Nyjer Morgan went to second baseman Rohlinger to home and beat out La Stella, who tried to avoid the tag with a crab walk maneuver that was unsuccessful. Ahead of La Stella, Philip Gosselin scored on the play to give Gwinnett the lead again.
The Clippers got a pair of two-out hits to produce their second run an inning later. Rohlinger doubled, and was driven in on a single by Nyjer Morgan to knot the score at two apiece.
Cloyd’s counterpart Gavin Floyd, on a rehab assignment from Atlanta, retired the first five batters he faced. That streak was broken up after a big shot from Matt Carson, which resulted in his first homer of the year.
The Clippers were threatening in the inning with two outs. In an odd decision by Clippers manager Chris Tremie, the team sent Tim Fedroff home from first on a single to center. He was only halfway down the line when Gwinnett catcher Steven Lerud got the ball on the relay, and tagged out Fedroff, who slid, in a futile attempt to score.
The Clippers bullpen held the Gwinnett bats in check for most of the night. Austin Adams pitched a 1-2-3 11thinning and recorded a strikeout to get the victory. The bullpen accounted for 6.1 innings and allowed just one hit. Highlighted by 2.1 innings from Mike Zagurski, who took over for Cloyd in the fifth inning, and two innings from Nick Hagadone, who pitched the ninth and tenth innings, while striking out five.
“The pen really picked us up tonight, and helped keep the score there right where it was and that was really important,” Tremie said.
Frank Herrmann made his season debut in the eighth inning. Herrmann has not pitched since 2012 because of Tommy John surgery. He walked two, but coaxed a 5-4-3 double play to get out of the inning unscathed.
“(Herrmann) was effective and he did a good job, and I’m sure he was happy to get back on the bump for the first time in a game atmosphere in a while,” Tremie said.
The Clippers look to take the series in the finale at 7:15 PM Friday night at Huntington Park. Josh Tomlin (0-1, 4.00) will toe the slab for the fourth time this season. Tomlin has recorded a quality start in each of his last two outings against Toledo. Most recently, last Friday night, when he gave up two runs on three hits and a pair of walks. He struck out five on his way to a no decision after Adams gave up the lead in the eighth in a 5-3 Clippers loss. Columbus has yet to win a game in which Tomlin has started this season. Gwinnett will counter with Zach Stewart (1-0, 5.06).
Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.