COLUMBUS - Toledo starting pitcher Brian Powell had allowed Columbus a mere 10 hits and two runs in his previous two starts against the Clippers this season.
So it was a bit surprising when the right-hander had already given up seven hits and two runs by the end of the third inning yesterday at Cooper Stadium, allowing Columbus to take an early lead in the Clippers' 9-6 victory.
And the outing only got worse for Powell (9-3), as the Clippers chased him from the game with a four-run fifth that pushed their advantage to 6-1.
“He had a tough time getting ahead in the count today,” Mud Hens manager Bruce Fields said. “When he does, like he did the first two times, he can be really effective. But when he doesn't, he gets behind and has to throw something right down the middle.”
But Toledo didn't let the Clippers run away with the game, rallying for a five-run sixth that tied it 6-6.
“The kid [starter Andy Beal] pitched well,” Columbus manager Stump Merrill said. “We tried to keep him in there to get the win, but they came back on us.
“But the important thing is, we rallied late, and we haven't been able to do that often.”
The Mud Hens took advantage of back-to-back walks by Beal with one out in the second inning as Chad Alexander's RBI single opened the scoring.
The Clippers gave Beal a 2-1 lead in the third with back-to-back run-scoring doubles by Marcus Thames and Robert Perez.
However, the rally was cut short when Perez was gunned down at home plate by right fielder Ryan Jackson. Coaching third, Dan Radison had thrown up the stop sign, but Perez tried for the extra run when Jackson momentarily bobbled the ball.
After Perez added a two-run double in Columbus' four-run fifth, Toledo rallied to tie the score with a five-run sixth that began with a Michael Rivera homer off Beal and ended only after 10 Hens had come to the plate.
But Erick Almonte put the Clippers back in the lead with a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the inning.
Creighton Gubanich padded the lead when he doubled and scored on Eric Eckenstahler's throwing error. Gubanich homered in the eighth off Jamie Walker to give Columbus its margin of victory.
“You expend a lot of energy in a game like that when you take the lead, then have to rally back, rally again and then the first guy up in the next inning hits a home run to put you behind again,” Fields said.