Clippers Lose, But Still Lead Series

Clippers Lose, But Still Lead Series

Josh Judy has had better games. The Columbus reliever came on with a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the ninth and gave up a run to the Durham Bulls that cost the Clippers their first chance at winning the Governor's Cup. Former Indians reliever Winston Abreu got the win. The tough 3-2 loss means Columbus leads the best-of-five series for the Triple-A International League championship, 2-1.

Clippers starter Yohan Pino had another good playoff performance. The right-hander allowed only three hits and one earned run over eight innings. He struck out two, walked one and gave up an unearned run after an error by centerfielder Ezequiel Carrera.

Last week, Pino pitched seven one-hit innings in a playoff win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Trailing 2-0, Wes Hodges hit a solo homer in the sixth to get the Clippers within 2-1. He singled home the tying run in the eighth.

Judy, whose sharp breaking pitches have him on path to take a place in the Cleveland Indians' bullpen, just wasn't sharp. He gave up two walks and a single to load the bases. Then he got his only out -- a sacrifice fly that scored the winning run.

After going 3-0 with a 2.68 ERA and two saves at Columbus this year, the big right-hander is expected to be in the mix competing for a job in Cleveland next spring. Judy will be 25 years old when training camp opens and has put together quite a resume in four years in the Tribe farm system.

Drafted in the 34th round, Judy has compiled a 20-6 record with 18 saves and 2.74 ERA in 136 minor-league games. Two years ago, he went 12-1 at Class A Lake County. A year ago at Double-A Akron, he stepped into the closer's role when Vinnie Pestano went down with a season-ending injury. Judy went 4-3 with 11 saves and 3.10 ERA for the Aeros and really picked up the pace in the playoffs to help Akron win the Eastern League title.

Abreu, who for a brief time was part of Cleveland's bullpen in 2009, struck out all three men he faced in the top of the ninth for Durham to get the victory. He went 0-4 this season, but otherwise had an exceptional season as the Bulls' closer with 24 saves and 2.28 ERA. In 55 1-3 innings during the regular season, he gave up only 35 hits and struck out 82, though his walks (a problem in Cleveland) were a little high at 21.

Tonight, right-hander Paolo Espino (3-3, 5.62 ERA) will start for Columbus against the Bulls' Heath Phillips (8-7, 4.07 ERA). Espino went 9-4 at Akron to earn a promotion to the Clippers. The 23-year-old usually has good fastball command. In working a career-high 143 innings this year, he has 124 strikeouts and 47 walks.

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