NAILBITER TO BULLS
Game 1 of the International League playoffs between Durham Bulls and the Indianapolis Indians turned into a classic pitchers’ duel.
That was until the Bulls broke the game open with an RBI single by Tim Beckham in the eighth inning for a 2-0 victory Wednesday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Beckham, who later scored on a single by Vince Belnome for an insurance run, finished with three hits.
“I knew we had a fast guy on second,” Beckham said of driving in Kevin Kiermaier, who legged out a double with one out in the eighth. “(Kiermaier), he got us going with a big double in the gap. (Jesus Flores) worked a good walk.
“I felt like it was my job to put the barrel on the ball and make something happen. ... I want to be the guy at the plate in that situation.”
Durham starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi and the Bulls made it through six relatively smooth innings, then came the seventh.
Indianapolis’ Robert Andino opened the inning by reaching first when Beckham’s throw from the shortstop position pulled Belnome off the bag at first for an error. A grounder by Gregory Polanco erased Andino at second, but the Bulls were unable to turn a double play against the Indians’ speedy center fielder.
Bulls catcher Jesus Flores attempted to pick Polanco off first, but his errant throw moved the runner to second. Hague and Jared Goedert drew walks to load the bases, but Odorizzi struck out Brett Carroll and Kiermaier chased down a twisting fly ball by Lucas May in center field for the final out.
“The other guy was dealing; Odorizzi was dealing,” Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo said of Indianapolis starter Brandon Cumpton, who went the distance. “And that was a big inning, when Odorizzi got out of that trouble.
“In close games like that, when you make a couple of errors, you’ve got to stop it. We started that rally, and then Odorizzi stopped it.”
Odorizzi pitched seven innings, giving up just one hit while striking out nine before leaving after a long seventh inning that included a 10-minute delay when Soucy left the game after being hit by an errant pitch.
With a 2-0 count to Flores, Cumpton’s pitch appeared to hit Soucy in the midsection. He remained on the field after being examined by Bulls trainer Mike Sandoval, and Flores drew a four-pitch walk.
But when Beckham drove the second pitch he faced to right field for an RBI single, Soucy made no signal as Kiermaier slid across for a 1-0 lead.
“That was scary,” Montoyo said of Soucy’s injury.
After that, Kelvin Bultron moved from umpiring second base to behind the plate.
Belnome’s two-out single drove in Beckham for the second run, but Cole Figueroa was out at the plate when he attempted to score from second on the play.
“(Beckham has) had a good year,” Montoyo said. “In the playoffs, somebody’s got to step up if you want to win games and he did today. He had a big game.”
Odorizzi needed just five pitches to get through the fourth inning, which ran his count to 42.
Cumpton came close to matching the feat in the bottom of the inning, throwing six pitches to retire the Bulls in order. Overall, Cumpton gave up seven hits and walked one batter to go with a pair of strikeouts.
After Beckham opened the game with a leadoff single to center field, the Bulls sent 17 batters to the plate without getting a runner on base until Beckham’s two-out double down the line in left in the sixth. Figueroa lined out to first baseman Matt Hague to end the threat.
“Odorizzi came out and threw a great game, dealt, one hit,” Beckham said. “You can’t ask any more of a starting pitcher. It’s our job to back him up when he throws a game like that, and that’s what we did. We pulled off a good win, a big win.
“It’s the first game of the playoffs, and we’ve got a couple more games to win. I feel like we can compete with the best teams. I think we’re the best team, to be honest.”
Jeff Beliveau came on in relief for the Bulls in the eighth, notching a pair of strikeouts on his way to a 1-2-3 inning.
Kirby Yates earned a save, but only after loading the bases on a pair of two-out walks and a two-out single in the ninth before getting May to fly out.
“Can I say that that was a nailbiter?” Montoyo said. “It was amazing.”
NOTES — Durham outfielder Brandon Guyer, who is with the Bulls on a major league rehab assignment from the parent Tampa Bay Rays, was scratched from the lineup Wednesday afternoon because of a back ailment. ... The Bulls beat Lehigh Valley for the highest batting average in the IL — by .000066, the tightest margin in the league’s history and the fifth time the top two teams went to the wire. ... Durham’s pitching staff recorded 1,246 strikeouts in 1,262 innings, setting a league record. Only twice before had a team come within 100 strikeouts of averaging one per inning.
Durham Bulls (1-0) 2, Indianapolis Indians (0-1) 0
September 4, 2013
|d'Arnaud, C, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|De Jesus, DH||3||0||0||0||0||3||0||.000|
|Ford, D, LF||3||0||0||0||0||3||0||.000|
|a-Walked for Carroll in the 9th.|
TB: Goedert; Carroll.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: May 4.
Team RISP: 0-for-3.
Team LOB: 7.
CS: Goedert (1, 2nd base by Odorizzi/Flores, J).
Outfield assists: Carroll (Figueroa, C at home).
|Beckham, T, SS||4||1||3||1||0||0||0||.750|
|Figueroa, C, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.250|
|Anderson, Le, LF||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.333|
|Flores, J, C||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||.000|
2B: Beckham, T (1, Cumpton), Kiermaier (1, Cumpton).
TB: Belnome; Beckham, T 4; Kiermaier 2; Figueroa, C; Anderson, Le.
RBI: Beckham, T (1), Belnome (1).
2-out RBI: Belnome.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Belnome; Figueroa, C.
Team RISP: 3-for-7.
Team LOB: 5.
SB: Beckham, T (1, 2nd base off Cumpton/May).
E: Beckham, T (1, throw), Flores, J (1, pickoff).
|Cumpton (L, 0-1)||8.0||7||2||2||1||2||0||2.25|
|Beliveau (W, 1-0)||1.0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0.00|
|Yates (S, 1)||1.0||1||0||0||2||1||0||0.00|
Pitches-strikes: Cumpton 92-58, Odorizzi 106-72, Beliveau 19-14, Yates 26-14.
Groundouts-flyouts: Cumpton 13-7, Odorizzi 5-6, Beliveau 0-1, Yates 1-1.
Batters faced: Cumpton 31, Odorizzi 25, Beliveau 3, Yates 6.
Umpires: HP: David Soucy. 1B: Jeff Gosney. 2B: Kelvin Bultron. 3B: Ben May.
Weather: 82 degrees, clear.
Wind: 3 mph, R to L.
Venue: Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
September 4, 2013
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media