Myers, Beckham power Bulls' comeback
The Durham Bulls again got off to a hot start against the Buffalo Bisons on Tuesday night, but this time they needed a hotter finish to pull out a 9-8 victory at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Wil Myers provided the two longest hits by the Bulls, but it was Tim Beckham's long single off the Blue Monster that gave them the come-from-behind win in International League action.
"It's definitely a good feeling; it's always a good feeling when you win the game," Beckham said. "We're never out of a ballgame, no matter how much we're down.
"We can play with the best of them, and we know that. There's never a lead that we can't come back from and get the win."
Beckham's shot off the wall drove in pinch runner Jason Bourgeois, who stole second to move into scoring position.
"Walkoffs are awesome," Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo said. "Jason Bourgeois stealing the base — he wasn't going to score from first base."
And the Bulls weren't going to win without Myers' pair of homers, his eighth and ninth of the season. The two-run shot in the seventh inning was a drive that slapped off the fifth-floor balcony of the Diamond View II building and pulled Durham to within 8-6 of the Bisons.
In the ninth, Myers' line-drive homer barely cleared the Blue Monster before rattling around tables in the patio.
"I've seen Mike Hessman hit one off Jeff Niemann right to the top (of the building)," Montoyo said. "But the one Wil hit (in the seventh) was going to keep going.
"The other one, I was hoping it would clear the fence. I hope nobody got hurt. That would hurt. That was the hardest line-drive home run that I've seen in many years."
Leslie Anderson, Vince Belnome and Shelley Duncan had three hits each in the Bulls 15-hit attack against four Buffalo pitchers. Myers and Beckham added a pair each.
"These teams are, as advertised, both good-hitting clubs," Montoyo said. "The one that makes a better pitch will survive. ... There was a lot of balls hit hard today."
Corey Wade (1-0) pitched the final two innings for Durham, giving up one hit and recording one strikeout to take the win. It was his first victory with the Bulls since June 2, 2011, at the DBAP vs. Columbus.
The Bulls wasted no time getting to Buffalo starter Justin Germano, with Rich Thompson lacing his second pitch to right field to start the rally. Belnome, who was on base all five at-bats, drew a one-out walk before Thompson stole third uncontested and scored on a single by Anderson for a 1-0 lead.
Duncan followed with an RBI double off the wall in left to plate Belnome, and Anderson scored on a single to left by Tim Beckham for a 3-0 lead.
The Bisons (28-22) closed the gap in the second, as Ricardo Nanita doubled off the base of the fence in center, went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Langerhans and scored on a grounder by Ryan Goins to cut the margin to 3-1.
Buffalo evened the score in the third on a two-run homer by Moises Sierra off Bulls starter Mike Montgomery. Mike McCoy had opened the inning with a single to left, then would have been caught trying to steal second except that Beckham dropped the throw for an error to keep the play alive.
The Bisons took a 4-3 lead in the fourth with a leadoff single by Langerhans and a two-out RBI double by Mike McCoy.
Luis Jimenez — Buffalo's 6-3, 280 first baseman — singled to lead off the fifth, stole second and later scored on a two-out single by Ricardo Nanita for a 5-3 Bisons lead.
Durham pulled to within a run in the bottom of the fifth when Belnome opened with a double off the wall in left-center and scored on a one-out double by Anderson for his second RBI of the night.
The Bisons greeted Bulls reliever Will Inman with a double by Ryan Goins, and he later scored on a sacrifice fly. Buffalo added to its margin when Inman struggled with control, walking McCoy, hitting Sierra and walking two more to force in a run for a 7-4 lead.
They added a solo homer by Langerhans to open the seventh, but the Bulls cut into the lead with Myers' blast in the bottom of the inning after Belnome drew a leadoff walk.
"He had some good at-bats," Beckham said of Myers. "He put the bat on the ball and it was taking off."
NOTES — The teams play again today at 7:05 p.m. at the DBAP, with Alex Colome (4-5, 2.60 ERA) on the mound for the Bulls against Buffalo's Claudio Vargas (3-4, 5.29). ... Myers now has five home runs in the past six games, including one in the Bulls' 11-7 win Monday night in the series opener.
Bulls 9, Bisons 8
Mccoy 2b|4|2|2|1|Thompson cf|4|1|1|0
Sierra cf|3|1|1|2|Guyer lf|5|0|0|0
Jimenez 1b|4|1|1|1|Belnome 3b|3|4|3|0
Gomez 3b|4|0|0|0|Myers rf|5|2|2|4
Velez dh|4|0|2|1|Anderson 1b|5|1|3|2
Nanita lf|5|1|2|1|Duncan dh|5|0|3|1
Langerhans rf|4|2|2|1|Bourgeois pr|0|1|0|0
Goins ss|4|1|1|1|Beckham ss|5|0|2|2
Nickeas c|4|0|0|0|Figueroa 2b|3|0|1|0
One out when winning run scored.
E—Germano, Belnome, Beckham, Anderson. DP—Buffalo 2. LOB—Buffalo 9, Durham 9. 2B—Nanita, McCoy, Goins, Duncan, Belnome, Anderson. HR—Sierra (5), Langerhans (9), Myers 2 (9). S—Langerhans, Goins, Albernaz. SF—Jimenez. SB—Jimenez (2), Thompson (15), Bourgeois (13).
Carlyle (BS, 1)(L, 3-1)|1.1|3|3|3|1|1
Wade (W, 1-0)|2.0|1|0|0|0|1
Schwimer pitched to 1 in the 8th.
WP—Montgomery 3. HBP—Sierra (by Inman), Thompson (by Germano). Umpires—HP, Ian Fazio; 1B, Brad Myers; 3B, Seth Buckminster. T—3:09. A—3,568.