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Clippers cough up lead, but win in extras

LaPorta's walk-off hit tops Norfolk in 10
June 13, 2010

For the second straight night, Columbus' bats didn't wake up until the late innings, but the Clippers did enough Sunday to erase an early Norfolk lead, and then coughed it up late to set the stage for a dramatic 10th inning victory. Matt LaPorta's walk-off hit scored Jose Constanza and gave Columbus game two of a four-game set against the Tides at Huntington Park, 5-4.

Tides starter Brandon Erbe came in sporting an 0-9 record in 2010, but he looked sharp through five innings, not allowing a single Clipper to reach base. Columbus broke through in the sixth, however, as Lou Marson and Cord Phelps hit back-to-back home runs to help chase Erbe.

The two long balls put a dent in Norfolk's 3-0 advantage, and in the bottom of the seventh, the Clippers took the lead when reliever Cla Meredith walked in both the tying and go-ahead runs.

Josh Judy and Jess Todd teamed to throw three scoreless innings for Columbus, in relief of starter Aaron Laffey. But Vinnie Pestano couldn't pitch around some shoddy defense in the ninth, allowing the tying run to score on a single, one batter after an error extended the game.

It was Pestano's first blown save as a Clipper, but all it did was set up LaPorta. His hit in the 10th marked the eighth last at-bat win of the season for Columbus and the 21st come-from-behind victory for the Clippers.

Carlton Smith threw a scoreless top of the 10th to earn his first victory for Columbus. Mike Hinckley (0-3) was the loser for the Tides for the second consecutive day.

The Clippers and the Tides are back at it Monday night at 7:05, with Carlos Carrasco (5-2, 4.12 ERA) getting the call for Columbus against Norfolk's Armando Gabino (3-0, 2.56).