Myers again gives Bulls late power surge
Wil Myers and the Durham Bulls defense made sure that Saturday night's game against the Indianapolis Indians wouldn't be a repeat of Friday's marathon loss at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Myers sent the first pitch he saw from Indians reliever Zack Thornton deep along the sidewalk next to the Diamond View II building beyond the Blue Monster in left field to lead the Bulls to a 4-2 victory over Indianapolis in International League action.
"Bigtime hitters come through in bigtime situations — that's all I can say," said Bulls first baseman Vince Belnome, who went 3-for-4 and made the final putout of the night.
Belnome fielded a wide throw to first by second baseman Mike Fontenot, who made a diving stop on a ball hit to his right by Jared Goedert and regained his footing to make the relay throw that ended the game. After Belnome dug the ball out of the dirt, he tapped the base as Goedert arrived.
"I have no idea," Belnome said when asked if he beat Goedert to the base. "From what I remember, I did (touch the base). ...
"As soon as I saw that throw, I just went and picked it. I knew where (the base) was; I'm pretty sure I got it. I (just) didn't know whether he was there yet."
Myers' homer, his third hit of the night, was his 14th this season and rivaled a blast that he hit onto the fourth-floor patio of Diamond View II in May.
"That felt good," Myers said. "I got both of them pretty good, but I thought the other one was probably farther.
"(But) that felt good to be able to come back and help my team right there. I didn't have a great at-bat (Friday) night, so it felt good to come back."
In Durham's 6-4 loss the previous night, Myers led off the ninth with the score tied but grounded out as the Bulls were retired in order before a pair of Indianapolis homers sealed the game in the 10th inning.
Myers tape measure home run was a relief but not a surprise to Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo.
"Myers? You mean like hitting a ball that's still going?" Montoyo said when asked about the right fielder's offensive dramatics. "It's fun to watch a prospect like that. They don't come around very often. When he hits the ball, the ball goes a long way — it's fun to watch.
Adam Liberatore (3-1), who struggled early in the seventh in his only inning of relief, picked up the win on the mound. Jared Goedert and Brett Carroll welcomed Liberatore with back-to-back singles, but he settled down to retire the next three batters including a pair of strikeouts.
Kirby Yates pitched the ninth inning to record his fifth save of the season.
The game had a rough start for Durham's Matt Buschmann, whose first pitch was hammered over the Blue Monster by Josh Harrison for a 1-0 Indians lead. Buschmann then walked Felix Pie but picked him off first and settled down to get out of the inning.
"Nine times out of 10, it's not going to happen," Buschmann said of the leadoff homer. "When it does, it's 'OK, start over.' ... You just act like the next hitter is the first hitter of the game.
"(But Pie) walked — four straight sliders and he took them all. I was fortunate enough to pick him off. That makes the game little easier. ... That kind of got me back into the groove to go after some guys."
Buschmann finished with nine strikeouts, including five in a row at one point, giving up three hits and only one earned run.
The Bulls wasted no time pulling even, as Jason Bougeois beat out an infield single with two out, went to third on a single by Myers and scored on a hit by Belnome.
Durham had runners on base in both the third and fourth innings, but Indianpolis ended both threats with double plays.
Bulls designated hitter Juan Apodaca singled with one out in the fifth but was caught stealing, as Johnson threw to first when he wandered too far away from the base. Brandon Guyer followed with a single, but Tim Beckham struck out to end the inning.
Indianapolis regained the lead in the sixth when Pie walked, stole second and scored when Belnome mishandled a line drive by Andrew Lambo for an error and a 2-1 Indians lead. Juan Sandoval came on in relief and got out of the inning with a flyout by Jerry Sands.
Fontenot opened the seventh with a double to left-center for the Bulls, then scored when Cole Figueroa's sacrifice bunt was thrown up the rightfield line by Goedert. Apodaca's sacrifice bunt moved Figueroa to third, but Guyer grounded out and Beckham watched a third strike by Indians reliever Zack Thornton to end the threat with the score tied 2-2.
NOTES — Bourgeois had a pair of hits for the Bulls. ... Saturday's attendance was 10,113, including a scout night promotion that including camping in the outfield of the DBAP after the game. ... Today's 6:05 p.m. is scheduled to have J.D. Martin (8-3, 2.92 ERA) pitching for the Bulls against Indianapolis' James McDonald (1-1, 7.45) in the final game of the series.