DBAP/DURHAM Nobody would ever have thought this a week ago, but the Durham Bulls come into the finale of their four-game series against the mighty Columbus Clippers with a chance for a sweep.

Durham Bulls outfielder Brandon Guyer

Columbus, which is still the runaway leader of the International League’s West Division, won all four games when the Bulls visited Huntington Park in the series ending May 24.

But the Bulls have taken three straight here and will go for a tie of the season series tonight.

Ryan Reid (0-0, 4.70) will make the spot start for Durham, his first start at the Triple-A level and first start in five seasons. Jeanmar Gomez (4-1, 2.82) will go for Columbus.

It takes 10 innings before the Clippers avoid the series sweep with a two-out bases-loaded walk and survive 2-1.

Columbus takes a 1-0 lead in the second. Chad Huffman hits an RBI single to third, followed by a double to left from Jason Kipnis and Jared Goedert’s sacrifice fly to right.

And the score stays right there until the sixth, when Desmond Jennings draws a one-out walk and scores on Chris Carter’s double to center.

The Clippers rally off Rob Delaney with one out in the 10th. Ezequiel Carrera walks, followed by Cord Phelps’ double to left. Delaney intentionally walks Lonnie Chisenhall, and then with two out Kipnis draws the bases-loaded walk.

Columbus outhits the Bulls 8-6. Gomez gets the solid quality outing, going eight innings and allowing the run on three hits with four strikeouts against three walks. Kipnis is the only Clipper with two hits, a double with a single and one RBI.

Reid goes five innings and allows the run on four hits with three strikeouts against a walk. Brandon Guyer is the only Bull with two hits.

They said it …
Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo: “Man, that was awesome. It’s a game of inches and that’s what it was today. We were that close from sweeping that club. Reid gave us five and saved our bullpen. I was hoping he’d pitch three, but he kept getting people out. He was just throwing strikes. It was a good game.”

Columbus manager Mike Sarbaugh: “Durham played good baseball this series. Their pitching was really good. We feel fortunate to get this last game. Gomez was really good. At times he got in a little trouble. But he got a big double-play ball (in the third) — he throws a hard sinker and gets a lot of ground balls. Any time you can get your starter to go eight it really helps the bullpen.”

Reid: “When I went 3 1/3 the other day it was my longest outing in a while. It was good. I just wish we had come away with the win. That was a tough game against a tough club.”

What does it all mean?

That the best teams in the South and West Divisions are really pretty evenly matched.

Stars of the game
1. Kipnis.
2. Reid.
3. Gomez.

Play of the game
Phelps’ double in the 10th.

Series record
Columbus wins 5-3.


Bulls: Lost 1.
Columbus: Won 1.

On deck
Bulls (Jay Buente 0-1, 3.00) vs. Pawtucket (Andrew Miller 2-2, 2.47), 7:05 p.m.
Columbus (David Huff 3-2, 4.73) vs. Louisville (Brandon Hynick 1-4, 7.59)