Franklin helps Bulls to split
A 12-game hitting streak that bracketed late June and early July helped propel Seattle Mariners prospect Nick Franklin to Durham Bulls Athletic Park for the July 16 Triple-A All-Star Game.
On Thursday night he returned under far different circumstances, this time playing infield for the Bulls following his trade to the Tampa Bay Rays organization.
While his first week on his new team hasn’t always been smooth at the plate, Franklin made an All-Star play with his solo home run in the sixth inning that gave Durham a 1-0 win over Buffalo in the second game of an International League doubleheader.
Buffalo won the first game 5-1 as the Bulls managed just four hits in the seven-inning game. Franklin had one of them as he singled in the fourth inning and scored the Bulls’ lone run.
In game two, on a 1-0 pitch with one out in the sixth, Franklin clobbered a no-doubt homer into the picnic area beyond the right field wall.
“He’s supposed to be like that, the guy that hit that ball,” Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo said. “Power. That was big. He played good shortstop also.”
Since being traded to Durham as part of the three-way trade that sent pitcher David Price from Tampa Bay to Detroit, Franklin has gone 2 for 16 at the plate. With Seattle’s Triple-A team in Tacoma (Wash.), Franklin hit .294 with nine home runs this season. He also played 17 games in the Major Leagues with the Mariners, hitting just .128.
With his hits in both ends of the doubleheader split for the Bulls on Thursday, Franklin now has a modest four-game hitting streak.
His long ball was the only time the Bulls damaged Buffalo pitcher Kendall Graveman in the nightcap. Durham had only three hits off the right-hander in six innings.
“He was doing a great job mixing up his pitches,” Franklin said. “A lot of it was moving down. So I was just looking for something up that I could drive in the gap.”
Montoyo said Franklin will alternate between second base and shortstop, which is what he did on Thursday night. He played second base in the first game, shortstop in the nightcap. The Rays like his versatility and his power.
He showed both against Buffalo.
At the same time, Bulls pitcher Enny Romero had one of his better pitching outings of the season. The left-hander pitched six scoreless innings, allowing only an infield hit to the Bisons in the second game.
Using a high-velocity fastball that reached 97 mph, Romero struck out six.
“Romero was fun to watch,” Montoyo said. “Our offense is struggling right now. Romero gave us a chance. That was the key. He was a big-leaguer today. That’s what we want to see.”
Bulls struggle in game one loss
Merrill Kelly’s so-so start and Brandon Gomes’ poor relief appearance doomed Durham to the 5-1 loss in game one.
Even though the game was shrunk to seven innings as part of the doubleheader, Durham pitchers issued six walks, hit one Buffalo batter and gave up 11 hits.
Kelly held Buffalo scoreless over the first three innings but gave up two runs in the fourth as the Bisons took the lead for good.
Kelly walked two of the first three batters in the inning. Both scored as Mike Nickeas and Jonathan Diaz each singled before Adron Chambers made it 2-0 with a run-scoring groundout.
The Bulls got a run back in the fourth inning when Nick Franklin and Mikie Mahtook singled to give Durham runners at first and third with no outs. Jeremy Moore made it 2-1 Buffalo with a sacrifice fly.
But Gomes replaced Kelly for the fifth inning and promptly gave up four hits and two runs. He needed 33 pitches to clear the frame as Durham trailed 4-1.
Buffalo scored again in the fifth inning, leaving Gomes with an ugly pitching line: 1 1/3 innings, five hits, three runs allowed.
Meanwhile, the Bulls scratched out only four hits.
|Diaz, J, SS||3||0||1||1||1||0||3||.213|
1-Ran for Chambers in the 6th.
2B: Gillespie (1, Gomes, B), LaRoche (12, Gomes, B), Pillar (34, Thompson).
TB: Diaz, J; Pillar 3; Wallace; Chambers 2; Nickeas; LaRoche 2; Gillespie 3; Schimpf.
RBI: Diaz, J (21), Chambers (14), LaRoche 2 (24), Pillar (48).
2-out RBI: LaRoche 2; Pillar.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Gillespie; Wallace 2; Schimpf 2; Nickeas.
Team RISP: 4-for-14.
Team LOB: 10.
SB: Mastroianni (18, 2nd base off Thompson/Solis).
CS: Pillar (5, 2nd base by Gomes, B/Solis).
PO: Pillar (1st base by Gomes, B).
|Lee, H, SS||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.204|
2B: Christian (32, Delabar).
TB: Olmedo; Christian 2; Franklin; Mahtook.
RBI: Moore (27).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Solis; Moore.
Team RISP: 0-for-5.
Team LOB: 3.
Outfield assists: Mahtook (Gillespie at home).
Pickoffs: Gomes, B (Pillar at 1st base).
|Drabek (W, 7-7)||2.1||2||1||1||0||1||0||4.04|
|Kelly, M (L, 6-4)||4.0||4||2||2||3||5||0||3.25|
Thompson pitched to 2 batters in the 7th.
WP: Drabek 2, Delabar, Thompson.
HBP: Pillar (by Kelly, M).
Pitches-strikes: Mills 39-27, Drabek 32-22, Delabar 12-10, Santos, S 12-9, Kelly, M 87-51, Gomes, B 44-26, Thompson 29-17, Mathis 17-9.
Groundouts-flyouts: Mills 2-1, Drabek 4-0, Delabar 0-0, Santos, S 0-1, Kelly, M 6-1, Gomes, B 0-0, Thompson 0-0, Mathis 0-1.
Batters faced: Mills 9, Drabek 9, Delabar 4, Santos, S 3, Kelly, M 20, Gomes, B 8, Thompson 5, Mathis 3.
Inherited runners-scored: Drabek 1-0, Thompson 1-1, Mathis 2-0.
Umpires: HP: Nick Bailey. 1B: Seth Buckminster. 3B: Travis Carlson.
Weather: 84 degrees, clear.
Wind: 7 mph, L to R.
|Acosta, M, C||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.135|
2B: Fontenot (18, Graveman).
HR: Franklin (1, 6th inning off Graveman, 0 on, 1 out).
TB: Fontenot 3; Olmedo; Franklin 4.
RBI: Franklin (2).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Moore; Olmedo.
Team RISP: 0-for-2.
Team LOB: 4.
DP: 2 (Fontenot-Franklin-Betemit, Franklin-Betemit).
|Nolan, K, SS||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.258|
|Diaz, J, 2B||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.210|
TB: Pillar; Mastroianni.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Mesa.
GIDP: Nolan, K, Wallace.
Team RISP: 0-for-1.
Team LOB: 2.
SB: Mastroianni (19, 2nd base off Romero/Acosta, M).
DP: (Diaz, J-Nolan, K-Wallace).
|Romero (W, 5-11)||6.0||1||0||0||2||6||0||5.01|
|Lueke (S, 8)||1.0||1||0||0||0||1||0||3.28|
|Graveman (L, 0-2)||6.0||3||1||1||2||4||1||2.25|
Pitches-strikes: Romero 89-59, Lueke 19-12, Graveman 84-54, Zagurski 11-9.
Groundouts-flyouts: Romero 6-2, Lueke 1-0, Graveman 8-4, Zagurski 0-0.
Batters faced: Romero 20, Lueke 3, Graveman 22, Zagurski 4.
Umpires: HP: Seth Buckminster. 1B: Travis Carlson. 3B: Jonathan Bailey.
Weather: 78 degrees, clear.
Wind: 5 mph, In from CF.