If the idea was to break the hearts of the Columbus Clippers, then the Bulls gave it their best shot. Clippers’ pitcher Yohan Pino was was brilliant. With the exception of the 5th inning, Bulls hitters were being set down on three or four pitches. In eight full innings he faced only 28 batters and threw only 81 pitches.
And in almost every inning Columbus was threatening. They got runners to third base in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd innings, but could not push across a run against Alex Cobb.
Nevertheless, even though Bulls hitters were swinging at everything, it wasn’t until the 5th that they were able to score. Angel Chavez got a double. Rashad Eldridge singled Chavez home (and got to third base on a fielding error) and Eldridge came home on a sacrifice fly by Fernando Perez. That put the Bulls up 2-0. R.J. Swindle baffled the Clippers in the 5th and 6th, all except Wes Hodges who smacked a homer over the bull. But Joe Bateman struck out the side in the 7th and all seemed well.
Perhaps just to extend the agony, Joe let a run sneak in in the 8th for his first blown save of the year. The game was tied 2-2, setting the stage for Winston Abreu to get his first win of the year. Winston struck out the side in the top of the 9th.
Bring on bottom-of-the-9th heroics. Josh Judy came in for the Clippers. Elliot Johnson worked a walk. Justin Ruggiano hit a single to right that was deep enough for Johnson to get to third. That led to an intentional walk of Chris Richard, loading the bases with none out. Infield and outfield were drawn in, but Leslie Anderson’s fly out to center was just far enough to let Elliot get home.
The Bulls live to see another day.
Odds and ends:
When Xavier Hernandez strolled out to the mound in the 6th inning just to stall a bit while Joe Bateman warmed up I had this thought. "This could be the last time he does that." But with the win, X will get another chance to make that stroll at the DBAP.
Sure seems like Columbus thoroughly scouted the middle of the Bulls lineup. Elliot Johnson, Justin Ruggiano, Chris Richard, and Joe Dillon are not doing well. Maybe the fun they had in 9th will be a turn around moment.
Paul Phillips, who got a win for the Bulls in Game 4 of the Bats-Bulls series is reported to be starting tomorrow.
We were surprised to see that Stacy Long, a writer for the Montgomery Advertiser, and who does a terrific job covering the Biscuits, was in town. His blog has several notes from the game and some post-game clubhouse commentary.