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    By Josh Cook

    After a sizzling start to the month the Louisville Bats ended the first half of their season with a fizzle.

    Their bullpen blew a two-run lead, then the game, as International League West-leading Columbus rallied for a 7-5 10-inning win Sunday night in front of 8,587 fans at Louisville Slugger Field. Wyatt Toregas' two-run homer won it for the Clippers (55-36), who lead the Bats (44-48) by 11 1/2 games in the division as both teams enter the IL All-Star break.

    Louisville came in having won eight of its previous 10 games, and looked like it was on its way to 9 of 11 before Columbus scored single runs in the eighth and ninth then two in the 10th.

    Early on, though, it looked good for the Bats, who are now 8-4 in July. They took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Zack Cozart's 12th homer of the season.

    The Clippers tied the game in top of the second before Louisville took the lead back in the bottom of the inning on Daniel Dorn's home run.

    Columbus scored two runs in the fourth to take the lead against James Avery, who was making his first Triple-A start of the season and only the second of his career. The pride of Moose Jaw, Canada gave up a solo home run to Nick Weglarz and a two-out, RBI-double to Cord Phelps.

    But then Avery, who left High-A Lynchburg (Va.) with a 4-3 record and a 3.40 earned-run average, got plenty of help from the Bats' bats.

    With one out in the bottom of the fourth Dorn walked, then moved to third on Wladimir Balentien’s single up the middle. Drew Sutton then walked before IL All-Star Chris Valaika delivered a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Catcher Chris Denove followed with a two-out, two-run single that gave Louisville a 5-3 lead.

    Avery, who was promoted after the parent Cincinnati Reds activated Ryan Hanigan from the disabled list (Hanigan had been on a rehab assignment with the Bats), allowed three earned runs on seven hits while striking out four over six innings. He seemed assured of his first Triple-A win. However he didn't get it.

    Daniel Ray Herrera gave up one run in the eighth, then in the ninth Phelps hit a game-tying solo home run off Carlos Fisher. Then in the 10th new pitcher Enerio Del Rosario (1-2) gave up a leadoff single to Weglarz, then a one-out homer to Toregas.

    Jess Todd (3-2), who pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings for the Clippers, picked the win. Vinnie Pestano struck out two of the three Bats he faced in the 10th to pick up his sixth save of the season.

    Balentien led Louisville's seven-hit attack with two.

    The Bats played without Yonder Alonso and relief pitcher Phillippe Valiquette, who were representing the World Team in the 2010 Major League Baseball Futures Game in Anaheim, Calif. Alonso, playing first base, went 1-for-4 with a single, while Valiquette tossed 2/3s of an inning of scoreless relief while walking one as the United States team beat the World team 9-1.

    Valaika will be Louisville's lone representative in Wednesday's Triple-A All-Star Game at Lehigh Valley (Penn.). Former Bat pitcher Travis Wood was also chosen to the team, but he was recently called up by the Reds.

    The Bats will be back in action at 7:05 p.m. Thursday night when they begin a four-game series against Lehigh Valley at Slugger Field.

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