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Seddon almost perfect in Clippers win

Seddon almost perfect in Clippers win
July 16, 2012
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COLUMBUS—Chris Seddon came within nine outs of recording the second perfect game in team history Monday night, and behind the valiant effort by the Columbus left hander, the Clippers opened up their home stand with a win against the Louisville Bats.

While Seddon wasn't perfect, he was certainly good enough to pace Columbus to victory, as the Clippers (48-48) beat Louisville, 8-2, to open a four-game set at Huntington Park. Solid on the mound, Columbus was also pretty good at the plate, scoring seven runs off Louisville left-hander Ryan Feierabend.

Seddon carried a perfect game into the seventh inning, only to have it broken up on the second pitch of the frame by Denis Phipps. The Bats' center fielder smacked a fastball past the outstretching arms of Clippers' third baseman Jared Goedert and into left field to give Louisville its first hit—and base runner—of the game.

The left-hander struck out seven and allowed three hits in 6.2 innings of work. Louisville scored its first runs of the game on a two-run homer two at-bats after Seddon's perfect-game bid ended. Seddon's night ended two batters later, bringing the 11,969 fans in attendance to their feet.

While his strikeout total was high—tied for the most since a June 8 start—Seddon's control was what allowed him to work so well Monday. Seddon walked no batters for the first time since June 15, and worked quickly, averaging about 12 pitches per inning.

"I thought he had all his pitches working for him, throwing for strikes. He was locating his fastball to keep them honest, and has a good breaking ball and good changeup," Columbus manager Mike Sarbaugh said.

Taking a pitcher out amidst a perfect game or no-hit attempt is as close to baseball blasphemy as there is, but with Seddon pitching on only three days rest, Sarbaugh said it would have been a tough decision if the left-hander had gone much deeper into the game.

"I had in my mind that as long as he had it we weren't going to do anything. For what he went through on short rest to go out and do what he did, it would have been an interesting decision. I'll put it that way," Sarbaugh said.

The Columbus defense played a big factor in Seddon's attempt at history, too. Like most no-hitters and perfect games, there was a spectacular defensive play made to prolong Seddon's quest, and Jason Donald made it. The Clippers left fielder made a full-body dive to snag a sharply hit line drive by Bats' designated hitter Chris Valaika to end the top of the fifth inning. Seddon raised his left arm in the air as the umpire signaled it was a catch.

As close to perfection as Seddon was on the mound, Feierabend was perhaps closer to a complete collapse. Along with the seven runs allowed—most he's given up since June 8—and nine hits off of him, Feierabend made two critical errors and a balk that led to Columbus runs in the third and fifth innings. Thanks in part to Feierabend's error, the Clippers scored four runs in the fifth, firmly entrenching themselves in winning position with a 7-0 lead.

A Jason Donald home run—his third of the season—put the Clippers on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning. Donald's high-arching fly ball just made it over the short porch in right field, bouncing off the on-looking catwalk before tumbling back onto the warning track.

When Columbus added to its lead in the third, Louisville manager David Bell was sent back to the visiting team's clubhouse. A pair of pick-off attempts by Bats' right-hander Ryan Feierabend allowed a run to score and caused Bell to get ejected in the inning.

Clippers' center fielder Ezequiel Carrera singled on a chopper up the middle to give Columbus a base runner with one out. Carrera then made his way to third base after throw to first by Feierabend skipped past Neftali Soto. With left fielder Jason Donald on first base after getting hit by a pitch, Feierabend made another pick-off move, but he was charged with a balk, plating Carrera and moving Donald to second base.

Columbus poured on more runs on a fielder's choice in the fourth and a two-run homer by right fielder Vinny Rottino in the fifth. Sandwiched between second baseman Cord Phelps' groundball and Rottino's homer to right field was another mistake by Feierabend that led to more Clippers' runs.

With shortstop Gregorio Petit on second base after singling to left and Carrera on first base following a bunt single, Donald laid down a sacrifice bunt. Feierabend picked up the ball just to the right of the mound, and attempted to get Petit out at third base. His rushed off-balance throw was low, and Petit and Carrera both scored with the ball rolling into left field.

"The big moment was the bunt by Donald, and them throwing the ball away, scoring a couple runs. It helped add on to the lead," Sarbaugh said.

After Seddon was taken out, the Columbus bullpen continued to do the job on the mound. Right-hander's Dan Wheeler and Bryan Price combined for 2.1 innings of scoreless work in relief.

Columbus and Indianapolis will play game two of the series on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.

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