Bulls blanked again
Kids from local Ys took part in a campout sleepover in the Durham Bulls Athletic Park outfield on Saturday night.
That’s fitting because the Durham Bulls are certainly in a somnambulant state while at the plate batting these days.
Durham mustered just five hits, all singles, and dropped its fourth consecutive game, a 5-0 shutout loss to Toledo before a crowd of 9,873 at the DBAP.
The Bulls (56-50) began Saturday with a healthy eight-game lead in the International League South Division standings over second-place Gwinnett. But they aren’t playing like a first-place team these days.
Saturday night’s loss was the fourth in the five games on the current home stand. It’s the second time Durham has been shutout during its four-game losing streak.
“Hitting is contagious, as you know,” Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo said. “Somebody starts hitting and everyone follows. But everybody is struggling at the same time and it’s killing us. It’s been going on for a while now.”
Toledo starting pitcher Mike Belfiore (3-5) took his turn stymieing the Bulls on Saturday night. Durham never had two hits in the same inning as Belfiore tossed seven scoreless innings, giving up just the five singles while striking out three.
The Bulls hit into three double plays and lost two other runners on the base paths trying to steal.
One of those caught stealings occurred in the fourth inning in what turned out to be the Bulls’ best scoring chance.
With one out, veteran Mike Fontenot drew a walk and moved to second on Justin Christian’s single. With All-Star Mikie Mahtook at bat and the Bulls’ hottest hitter, Jeremy Moore on deck, Fontenot attempted to steal third base and was thrown out easily.
Christian moved to second base, but Mahtook grounded out to third for the inning’s final out.
Montoyo said he didn’t call for a steal in that situation and that Fontenot attempted to make something happen on his own.
“I guess when you are not hitting as a player you want to do something extra and that’s what happened,” Montoyo said. “That was bad base running. I had my best hitter at the plate. He’s trying hard because we’re hitting to try to do something, but that’s not the way to do it.”
Bulls starting pitcher Enny Romero turned in a solid pitching effort only to see it result in a loss.
Romero, a left-hander, held the Mud Hens scoreless on just three hits over the first four innings. In the fifth inning, Toledo finally dinged Romero when Tyler Collins singled with one out and, after a fly ball to left field, Jordan Lennerton lined a two-out, RBI double off the wall in left field for a 1-0 Mud Hens lead.
Romero kept the score 1-0 entering the seventh inning and he was still throwing his fastball as high as 95 mph. But the location began to fail him and Toledo took advantage.
Third baseman Mike Hessman, the IL’s all-time home run leader, smashed a home run where the ball bounced off the Amundi Smith Breeden building in deep left-centerfield.
“Triple-A players don’t miss that pitch,” Romero said.
Romero walked James McCann and Collins lined a double off the wall in left field driving in McCann for a 3-0 Mud Hens lead.
That was all for Romero (4-11), who allowed three runs on nine hits while striking out three.
Notes: Durham and Toledo continue their four-game series today (5:05 p.m., WDNC-AM 620). Matt Andriese (11-5) starts for Durham against Toledo lefty Kyle Lobstein (7-10).
|Fields, D, CF||5||0||1||0||0||1||2||.217|
|Perez, H, SS||4||1||0||0||0||0||4||.278|
2B: Lennerton (18, Romero), McCann 2 (26, Romero, Riefenhauser), Guez (16, Riefenhauser).
HR: Hessman (20, 7th inning off Romero, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Lennerton 3; Collins 2; Hessman 4; McCann 4; Fields, D; Douglas; Guez 4.
RBI: Lennerton (32), Hessman (43), Collins (52), McCann 2 (40).
2-out RBI: Lennerton; McCann 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Douglas 2; Collins.
GIDP: Perez, H 2.
Team RISP: 3-for-10.
Team LOB: 5.
CS: Fields, D (1, 2nd base by Romero/Acosta, M).
DP: 3 (Hessman-Douglas-Lennerton, Perez, H-Douglas-Lennerton 2).
Pickoffs: Belfiore (Mahtook at 1st base).
|Nix, J, 3B||3||0||1||0||0||1||1||.264|
|Lee, H, SS||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.202|
|Acosta, M, C||2||0||1||0||1||1||0||.143|
TB: Acosta, M; Christian; Moore; Nix, J; Mahtook.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Mahtook.
GIDP: Nix, J, Belnome, Price.
Team RISP: 0-for-1.
Team LOB: 3.
CS: Mahtook (3, 2nd base by Belfiore/McCann), Fontenot (1, 3rd base by Belfiore/McCann).
PO: Mahtook (1st base by Belfiore).
DP: 2 (Nix, J-Fontenot-Belnome, Lee, H-Fontenot-Belnome).
|Belfiore (W, 3-5)||7.0||5||0||0||1||3||0||3.16|
|Romero (L, 4-11)||6.0||9||3||3||0||3||1||5.29|
Romero pitched to 3 batters in the 7th.
HBP: Mahtook (by Belfiore).
Pitches-strikes: Belfiore 90-53, Miller, J 32-22, Romero 90-60, Riefenhauser 32-21, Mathis 10-6.
Groundouts-flyouts: Belfiore 6-4, Miller, J 1-1, Romero 4-5, Riefenhauser 2-1, Mathis 0-1.
Batters faced: Belfiore 23, Miller, J 7, Romero 24, Riefenhauser 9, Mathis 4.
Inherited runners-scored: Riefenhauser 1-0.
Umpires: HP: Angel Campos. 1B: A.J. Johnson. 2B: Tom Honec. 3B: Max Guyll.
Weather: 88 degrees, clear.
Wind: 5 mph, Out to LF.
Venue: Durham Bulls Athletic Park.