Bats 2, Clippers 1: Loss ends playoff hopes
Clippers second baseman Nate Spears throws to first for a double play after forcing out the Bats’ Corky Miller in the fifth inning. Backing Spears up is Juan Diaz.
The final four games of the regular season are all that remain between most of the Clippers and a vacation from baseball.
A 2-1 loss to the Louisville Bats in Huntington Park last night mathematically eliminated Columbus from the wild-card race in the International League playoffs.
A few to several of the Clippers will get called to the Cleveland Indians when major-league rosters expand on Sunday. That carrot, as large and as close as it is, didn’t change the way the team played.
“We tried hard to win the game,” catcher Omir Santos said. “We wanted to win the game, no matter what. We don’t talk about (Cleveland) much. If people are going to go up, they’re going to go up. Good luck to them. We’re here, and we have to play here to win.”
The Bats won largely because Jeremy Hermida tried twice to hit a ball over the head of Louisville center fielder Billy Hamilton — in the seventh and eighth innings. Hamilton made a circus catch on the first and outran the second to keep his team ahead.
“That was the game, right there — those two plays,” Santos said. “You can hit it anywhere except center field. That guy can run.”
Trevor Bauer (6-7) made his final start of the season for the Clippers and struggled with a lack of control through five innings. He walked seven and hit a batter but allowed only four hits and the two runs.
Nevin Ashley drove in the first with a grounder to second base in the second inning. Three walks set up Mike Hessman’s sacrifice fly in the third.
Louisville starter Chad Rogers (5-5) took a 2-0 shutout into the seventh inning. Hamilton robbed Hermida to start the inning. With two outs, Juan Diaz singled, and Chun-Hsiu Chen got a double over Hamilton’s head to break up the shutout.
The Clippers had a final threat in the eighth when singles by Ezequiel Carrera and Tim Fedroff put runners on first and third with two outs. Hermida hit another drive to center that Hamilton ran down and caught.
“They were playing ‘no doubles,’ so (Hamilton) was a little bit deeper, which made the play a little easier,” Clippers manager Chris Tremie said. “The ball was still struck well. He made a nice play on it. He made two big plays.”