The Columbus Clippers (22-25) fell to the Durham Bulls (29-21) 5-2 Saturday night. The force was with the dark side as the Bulls beat the Clippers on Star Wars Night at Huntington Park. The loss is the fifth in the row for Columbus.
Nate Karns (3-2, 4.96 ERA) used his Jedi mind tricks to fool Clippers batters. He went six and one-third innings and allowed just two runs on three hits with a pair of walks and seven strikeouts. Gabriel Arias (0-1, 5.40 ERA) pitched well in his Triple-A debut. Arias held Durham to four runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Although Arias only allowed five hits to Durham four of the five were extra-base hits as Belnome smacked a double and homer and Olmedo doubled and tripled.
Kirby Yates closed out the ninth for his IL-best 13th save of 2014.
The Bulls struck first with a run in the second. A lead-off double by Vince Belnome turned into a run on a sacrifice fly by Justin Christian.
Jason Kipnis responded with his first hit for the Clippers on his rehab assignment. Elliot Johnson was walked to start the fourth inning and then the Indians' All-Star second baseman hit a homer to left just over the glove of the leaping left fielder Christian. Kipnis is 1-5 with the homer and two RBI in his rehab assignment. Kipnis also has three assists and one putout in the two games.
The fourth inning ended when Matt Carson grounded out to third, but a high throw from Jayson Nix forced Wilson Betemit to apply the tag in front of the bag at first. Betemit and Carson collided and Carson took the worst of it going down in a heap. Carson immediately left the game and was replaced in center field by Tim Fedroff.
A one-out triple by Ray Olmedo and sacrifice fly by Roman Ali Solis tied the game at two runs in the fifth. A two-run homer in the sixth by Belnome was the difference, but Jayson Nix provided insurance with a solo shot to start the eighth.
Columbus got the potential tying run to the plate in the ninth, but stranded a pair in the loss.
All of the 12,278 fans stayed after the game for a Star Wars inspired fireworks display. The crowd was the second largest in the history of Huntington Park.
The Bulls go for the sweep tomorrow in game four at 6:05 p.m. Sunday. Danny Salazar (0-1, 16.87 ERA) will get the call for the Clippers against Mike Montgomery (5-1, 3.96 ERA) for Durham.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.