Durham scratches out win against Gwinnett, 1-0
The Durham Bulls’ offensive struggles continued Sunday, but this time it didn’t stop them from getting the win.
Leslie Anderson’s sacrifice fly in the eighth inning broke a scoreless tie as the Bulls defeated the Gwinnett Braves 1-0 at Coolray Field.
Durham was shut out by the Braves on Saturday and has scored a total of two runs in its last three games.
After seven scoreless innings Sunday, the Bulls scored the game’s only run without the benefit of a hit. Tim Beckham was hit by a 1-2 pitch by David Hale (3-4), then swiped second. That led to an intentional walk to IL All-Star Vince Belnome, and then an unintentional walk to Ryan Roberts filled the bases.
Former Bull Joe Beimel entered to replace Hale, and permitted a sacrifice fly to Anderson to right-center to score Beckham and put the Bulls ahead.
Josh Lueke replaced Merrill Kelly (3-0) in the Braves half of the 8th. After striking out Sean Kazmar, Lueke walked Jose Constanza, who then executed a delayed steal of second. Todd Cunningham looped a single in front of Brandon Guyer in right field, with Constanza advancing to third. But Brandon Boggs grounded into a double play to get Lueke and the Bulls through the 8th with the lead intact.
Kelly, who was making his fifth career Triple-A start, had to sweat through the first couple of innings against the Braves, inducing a double play to end the first, then stranding two runners in the second.
The Bulls squandered a second-inning chance against David Hale, stringing three one-out hits together by Leslie Anderson, Brandon Guyer and Mike Fontenot. However, an 11-pitch at-bat by Chris Gimenez resulted in a double play grounder to shortstop.
Lueke worked the final two innings to record his 11th save in 12 tries. Fontenot led the Bulls’ offense with three of their eight hits. Kelly worked seven innings, allowing just three hits and fanning two. Kelly retired the final 11 hitters he faced.
Combined with Norfolk’s loss to Charlotte, the Bulls regained a 7 ½-game lead in the IL South.
Durham will next play a two-game set in Charlotte, with Matt Buschmann (3-0, 2.67) starting today and J.D. Martin (10-4, 3.11) starting Tuesday. The Bulls return home Wednesday for a five-game homestand.