Clippers ninth inning rally falls short in playoff opener
This one had all the makings of September magic in central Ohio.
Trailing 5-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning on Wednesday night at Huntington Park, Columbus catcher Guillermo Quiroz mashed a two-run homer run over the wall in left-center field to make it a one run game, but it would not be enough as Gwinnett held on for a 5-4 series opening win in front of an audience of 8,696.
A two-run, two out home run to the bleachers in left field from Braves shortstop Daniel Castro gave Gwinnett a 2-0 lead through two innings.
The Clippers would tie the game in the bottom of the third via a solo home run to the bleachers in left field from Yandy Diaz and an RBI sacrifice fly from Jesus Aguilar to the warning track in left center field bringing home Yan Gomes from third.
Diaz ended his night 4-for-5 at the plate in his first night back from the disabled list.
Reid Brignac's two-run eighth inning homer for Gwinnett combined with an insurance run in the ninth ended up being enough to win the game despite Quiroz's two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth cutting the Braves lead to one.
Right hander Adam Plutko had a solid outing for Columbus, giving up two earned runs in seven innings of work. He walked a batter and struck out four.
Madison Younginer (1-0) earned the win in relief for the G-Braves while Austin Adams (0-1) suffered the loss for the Clippers.
Maikel Cleto picked up the save in closing Columbus out.
The Clippers and Braves will tumble again tomorrow night in game two of their International League semi-final series at 6:35 p.m. in the Arena District.
As a reminder fans, all tickets for Thursday night's game are free! Tickets are still available online, at the center field box office, and by calling 614-462-2757. It's also a $5 Brewfest at the ballpark with all 14 oz. draft beer, both craft and domestic at $5 all game long.