Durham starts the party early against Norfolk
It’s hard to envision a better night for the Durham Bulls than Thursday’s game against Norfolk – a comfortable win against a division rival in front of a record crowd.
All nine Bulls had hits by the fifth inning and the team scored in each of the first four frames to beat the Tides 6-2 in front of a Durham Bulls Athletic Park-record 11,754 fans, many of whom stayed to watch the postgame holiday fireworks.
“Fun game to win,” Durham manager Charlie Montoyo said. “Big crowd like that, Fourth of July. It doesn’t get any better.”
The previous attendance mark of 11,674 was set on July 4, 2010. The third-biggest crowd came in May, when 11,392 saw North Carolina beat N.C. State in 18 innings in the ACC Tournament.
All three Bulls who were selected on Wednesday to represent the International League in the Triple-A All-Star Game showed why they were chosen.
J.D. Martin (10-4) allowed one run and five hits in 61⁄3 innings, while infielder Vince Belnome reached base safely in his first three at-bats and closer Kirby Yates pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The Bulls (55-33) are now 8½ games up on the Tides (46-41) in the IL South Division and moved 22 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2010 season.
Belnome started the scoring with a two-out single in the first to score Tim Beckham, who earlier had the first of Durham’s four doubles against Jair Jurrjens (5-6).
Mike Fontenot and Cole Figueroa both doubled and scored in the second inning, and Belnome made it 4-0 in the third when he walked, moved to third on a double by Shelley Duncan and scored on a sacrifice fly by Fontenot.
Brandon Guyer, who leads the league in runs scored with 61, added to his total in the fourth inning. He reached on an infield single, stole two bases and then scored on a fly ball by Shelley Duncan to put the Bulls up 5-0 on Jurrjens, who had made 125 starts in the majors with the Atlanta Braves.
“(Jurrjens) was up in the zone today, more than usual, and we did a good job taking advantage of that,” Montoyo said.
Martin retired 12 straight after giving up a first-inning double to Henry Urrutia, but Yamaico Navarro finally got to him in the fifth with a fly ball that carried over the Blue Monster.
That was all the Tides would get against the 30-year-old righty, who beat Norfolk for the first time in four starts against the team this season.
After being slated to begin the season in the Durham bullpen, Martin moved into the rotation because of injuries and call-ups and is now tied for the league lead in wins.
“ I was expecting to get at least seven or eight starts in,” Martin said. “And fortunately it’s been more than that and I’m just trying to roll with it and do as much as I can while I’m in the starter’s role.”
NOTES – Bulls first baseman Leslie Anderson is day-to-day after getting hit on the knee by a pitch on Wednesday. He is hitting .328 with a team-high 11 home runs. … Reliever Frank De Los Santos was assigned to Durham on Thursday, while Bulls catcher Craig Albernaz was placed on the disabled list. De Los Santos (1-1, 6.39) pitched in 11 games with Durham before going on the disabled list on May 10. … The Bulls finish the two-game homestand today at 7:05 p.m. Jake Odorizzi (6-1, 3.23) will start against Norfolk’s Tsuyoshi Wada (1-4, 5.74)
Bulls 6, Tides 2
Avery, CF|4|0|0|0| Frey, CF|4|1|2|0|
Pridie, DH|4|0|0|0| Beckham, T, SS|4|1|1|0|
Urrutia, RF|4|0|2|0| Guyer, RF|5|1|2|0|
Canzler, 1B|4|0|0|0| Belnome, 1B|2|1|1|1|
Wheeler, 3B|4|0|1|0| Duncan, LF|3|0|1|1|
Hoes, LF|4|0|0|0| Fontenot, 2B|3|1|1|1|
Navarro, Y, SS|3|1|1|1| Gimenez, C|3|0|1|0 |
Britton, B, 2B|3|0|1|0| Figueroa, C, 3B|4|1|1|1|
Exposito, C|3|1|1|1| Flores, J, DH|4|0|2|1|
E—Canzler. LOB—Norfolk 4, Durham 9. DP—Norfolk 1, Durham 0.
2B—Urrutia (3), Beckham, T (14), Fontenot (21), Figueroa, C (14), Duncan (14).
HR—Navarro (4), Exposito (2).
Jurrjens (L, 5-6)|4.0|9|5|5|3|
Martin (W, 10-4)|6.1|5|1|1|0|4|
HBP—Gimenez. Umpires—HP, Travis Carlson. 1B, Joey Amaral. 3B, Kelvin Bultron. T—2:44. A—11,754.