Columbus Clippers lose lead twice, drop two to Buffalo Bisons
While a quasi-doubleheader is certainly a fun time for all fans, the feeling that most spectators at Huntington Park on Thursday wasn’t so much joy, but déjà vu.
The Columbus Clippers (38-35) fell to the Buffalo Bisons (33-37) 7-4 in the shortened game on Thursday afternoon.
After weather interrupted Wednesday night’s matchup between the two teams in the fourth inning, play resumed Thursday afternoon, and so did the dreary weather. Even though Columbus led 3-1 in the fourth as play started again, the gray skies seemed to reflect the team’s hitting. Buffalo starter Kyle Drabek gave up just one hit over five innings and Jared Goedert hit a three-run homer as the away team came back to win, 5-3.
But the seven-inning second game saw the Clippers start out of the gate with a confidence they lacked earlier in the day.
Tyler Holt began by beating out an infield single to short. He then stole second before Jesus Aguilar walked.Giovanny Urshela did the rest with a bloop double down the left field line that allowed Holt to score easily. Then came the ever-dangerous Carlos Moncrief, who wasted no time in hitting his eighth homer of the year off the scoreboard in right field to give Columbus a 4-0 lead.
But it didn’t take too long before the Bisons were troubling the Clippers’ defense, and things started to look extremely similar to the day’s first game.
Brad Glenn led off the second by singling into center, and Jared Goedert then drew a walk. Andy LaRoche doubled to left to score Glenn before Hector Gimenez’s sacrifice fly cut the lead in half. A Jonathan Diaz groundout to second allowed Goedert to cross home and suddenly the Bisons trailed by only one.
They made up the rest of the ground in the third, Glenn striking again with a two-run homer to left center as the Bisons came from behind to take the lead, just as they had in the earlier game.
None of that early promise returned to Columbus’ bats as the game went on. Despite getting a runner on base in both the third and fourth, the Clippers grounded into a double play both times as the positive momentum was wasted.
Much of that wastefulness can be placed on the superb pitching of Buffalo’s Austin Bibens-Dirkx. After that rough first inning he gave up just four hits over the rest of his four frames.
With Columbus still cold on offense, the Bisons got another insurance run in the sixth. LaRoche singled for his third hit of the day, and after a fielder’s choice he was on third with two out. Once again, a Buffalo hitter came through in the clutch as Diaz singling to left to score LaRoche.
Diaz and Mastroianni were both on base with two outs, but Clippers starter T.J. House managed to force Goins to fly out and limit any further Buffalo offensive production.
The seven runs surrendered by House weren’t ideal but Columbus manager Chris Tremie said he knows that his performance was just a one-off.
“T.J. just wasn’t real sharp today,” Tremie said. “I’m sure during his next outing he’ll be sharper but it’s just one those days that happens, it’s part of the game and you’re not going to have your good stuff every time you go out there.”
In the bottom of the inning the Clippers’ inability to make the most of runners on base came to the fore again.
Adam Abraham drew a walk and Rohlinger singled with two outs to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Luke Carlin. But all the catcher could do was hit a soft grounder to second for a force out, to end the Clippers’ threat once again.
Holt was the man on base as the Clippers’ last chance in the seventh, but Aguilar and Urshela both flew out as the Bisons won, 7-4.
Things might not have gone the way of the Clippers on Thursday, but Tremie said it’s not something to worry about with the way the team has been playing.
“This is just one day,” he said. “We happened to play two games today but it’s one day. We’ve been playing consistent, good baseball for the last two weeks, one day we didn’t play real well, but we’ll come out tomorrow and get back after it.”
The Clippers are scheduled to be back on the road again Friday as they face the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.