By Josh Cook
You might say that it was a loss left on base for the Louisville Bats on Sunday.
They out-hit host Columbus 12-8, but left 14 runners stranded on base in a 7-3 loss at Huntington Park as the Clippers completed a three-game sweep.
Louisville's third straight setback dropped it 2 1/2 games behind Columbus (71-52) in the International League West. The Bats (68-54) have now lost three in a row for the first time since Durham beat them three straight June 29-July 1.
The Bats, who have 21 games left in their regular season, went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position Sunday.
That trend started in the first inning when Zack Cozart doubled with one out, moved to third on a wild pitch, but was left there when Yonder Alonso struck out and Todd Frazier flew out.
Columbus scored one run in the first inning on one hit - a leadoff single by Jose Constanza - off Louisville starter Aaron Harang, down on a rehab assignment from the parent Cincinnati Reds. Constanza stole second, moved to third on a ground out and scored on Jared Goedert's sacrifice fly.
The Clippers added four more in the second on a two-out, two-run single by Ezequiel Carrera and a two-out, two-run double by Cord Phelps.
Harang gave up five earned runs on five hits while walking two and striking out five over five innings. It didn't get much better for his replacement Enerio Del Rosario. He came on to start the sixth and promptly gave up back-to-back home runs to Wes Hodges and Matt McBride. Louisville pitching coach Ted Power was ejected after the latter.
Meanwhile it was smooth sailing for Columbus starter Yohan Pino (9-7), who gave up nine hits while walking two and striking out five.
The Bats made up some ground in the eighth and ninth.
In the eighth Chris Valaika led off with a single against new pitcher Jensen Lewis. He moved to third on Michael Griffin and scored on Dave Sappelt's ground out.
Louisville added two more runs in the ninth without a hit. New pitcher Bryce Stowell walked Frazier, Wladimir Balentien and Danny Dorn to load the bases with one out. Then his wild pitch scored Frazier. Valaika followed with a sac fly to account for the final margin.
Aroldis Chapman and Daniel Ray Herrera held the Clippers hitless over the seventh and eighth. Chapman walked one and struck out one.
Valaika and Sappelt led Louisville's 12-hit attack with three apiece. Catcher Corky Miller added two hits.
The Bats have a day off Monday before beginning at four-game series against Syracuse at Louisville Slugger Field, where Louisville will play 11 of its next 14 games.