Mud Hens walk-off against Clippers 8-7
Columbus falls under .500 with loss
TOLEDO- After Clipper left fielder Cord Phelps tied the game at seven with a sharp single to center in the top of the eighth inning, the Toledo Mud Hens responded with a walk-off fielder’s choice in the bottom of the ninth to down Columbus 8-7 Thursday.
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco was slated to make the start for Columbus, but for a reason that has yet to be announced, was pulled from the game. Instead, reliever Jerry Gil took the mound and pitched the first three innings of the game before handing it over to five other members of the bullpen -- Scott Barnes, Chris Jakubauskas, Bryan Price, Preston Guilmet and Paolo Espino.
The Clippers took an early 3-1 lead after the first two innings in the first.
Shortstop Matt Lawson and third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall walked with one out in the top of the first and Phelps followed by pounding an RBI single into left field. In the next at-bat, first baseman Chen-Hsiu Chen was issued a free pass to load the bases and a balk by starter Casey Crosby allowed Chisenhall to score from third and make it 2-0.
After Toledo gained a run on Columbus by a two-out RBI base hit by first baseman Danny Dorn in the bottom half of the inning, the Clippers responded with another run in the top of the second to increase their lead to 3-1.
Catcher Omir Santos laced a one-out double to center and advanced to third on a groundout to first by left fielder Ezequiel Carrera. Next, a soft groundball to third off the bat of Lawson allowed Santos to cross the plate for the run.
The game remained in a standstill until the Mud Hens exploded with five runs off of Barnes in the bottom of the fifth.
With catcher Ramon Cabrera and shortstop Argenis Diaz on first and second, center fielder Kevin Russo laid a sacrifice bunt down the third baseline to move the runners into scoring position. Second baseman Brandon Douglas then cracked a two-run double into center field to tie the game at three. Left fielder Nick Castellanos lined a single into left for another run and Dorn followed with a walk. Consecutive base knocks by third baseman Mike Cervenak and right fielder Ben Guez gave Toledo the 6-3 advantage.
Another run by means of a Castellanos two-bagger put the Mud Hens up 7-3 but Columbus answered with four runs in the seventh and eighth innings to even the score.
In the top of the seventh with two down and runners at the corners, Chen walked to fill the bases. Center fielder Tim Fedroff then reached on a botched ball by Dorn at first base to bring in a pair of runs. Back-to-back free passes to Matt Carson and Nate Spears brought in another to make it a one-run ballgame.
Tied 7-7 in the bottom of the ninth, Espino (0-1, 7.04 ERA) surrendered a one-out triple to Cabrera before Diaz grounded to third to score the game-winning run.
Mud Hen relief pitcher Matt Hoffman (3-1, 0.83 ERA) earned the win for his team after pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
The second-consecutive loss drops Columbus below the .500 (30-31) mark for the first time since April 19 when they where 7-8. Toledo improves their record to 22-40 with the victory.
The Clippers and Mud Hens will conclude their series with a 7:00 p.m. match-up on Friday. Columbus left-hander T.J House (1-4, 5.70 ERA) will look to rebound from a lackluster outing in his previous start and will square-off against fellow southpaw Pat Misch (1-3, 5.52 ERA) of Toledo.