Bulls ride Merrill Kelly's arm to win over Braves; snap road skid
Cole Figueroa and Leslie Anderson each drove in a run to back the brilliant pitching of Merrill Kelly Thursday as the Durham Bulls downed the Gwinnett Braves 2-1 at Coolray Field here.
Kelly, 7-3, got the win with 6-1/3 innings of two hit ball, shutting out the Braves until the seventh when he was touched for an unearned run with the Braves ahead 2-0.
He walked two and struck out six and his earned-run average dropped to 3.12.
Brandon Gomes came on in relief and pitched 1-2/3 scoreless innings before Josh Lueke came on to pitch a scoreless night for his 15th save of the season.
Kelly was near-perfect through 5-2/3 innings, allowing only one baserunner, that on a two-out walk to Alden Carrithers in the bottom of the first inning. Jose Constanza broke up the no-hitter with a two-out single off the glove of first baseman Shelley Duncan in the bottom of the sixth.
Sean Gilmartin had held the Bulls (77-49) at bay through five innings as well, but Durham finally broke through against Joe Bisenius who relieved Gilmartin to open the top of the sixth.
Kevin Kiermaier led off with a triple to right and came home on a ground ball by Figueroa that was thrown away by third baseman Joe Leonard for an error. Figueroa scored on a one-out double to right by Anderson.
Kelly walked Carrithers leading off the seventh and Vince Belnome’s error at third allowed Carrithers to score and cut the lead to 2-1. Kelly was lifted after allowing a one-out single to Stefan Gartrell that put runners at first and third.
Gomes came on to get Leonard on strikes and Matt Pagnozzi on a fly to center to hold Ernesto Mejia at third with the potential tying run.
Gomes got out of trouble again in the eighth.
A one-out single and a wild pitch by Gomes put the potential tying run on second, but Gomes got Todd Cunningham and Carrithers on ground outs to end that threat.
In the ninth, Lueke had to pitch out of his own jam as well. He gave up a leadoff single to Mejia. Pinch-runner Sean Kazmar was sacrifice to second by Philip Gosselin, but Lueke struck out Gartrell, walked Leonard and got Matt Pagnozzi to ground out to Belnome at third to end the game.
NOTES — The Bulls’ magic number to clinch the International League South is eight. Any combination of eight Bulls wins and Norfolk losses will clinch division title for Durham for the sixth time in seven seasons ... The Bulls (3.39) are on pace to have the lowest ERA in the team’s Triple-A history and lowest for the franchise since the 1991 Bulls had a 2.91 ERA ... Thursday’s win snapped a three-game road losing streak ... The Bulls close out their visit to Georgia tonight at 7:05 with Matt Buschmann (6-1, 2.95) starting for Durham against Cody Martin (2-4, 3.97) for the Braves. Durham moves on to Charlotte on Saturday where they’ll meet the Knights at 7:15 p.m.
Durham Bulls (77-49) 2, Gwinnett Braves (54-73) 1
August 15, 2013
|Figueroa, C, SS||4||1||1||1||0||0||2||.289|
|Anderson, Le, LF||4||0||1||1||0||0||1||.309|
|Flores, J, C||3||0||1||0||0||1||1||.193|
|Kelly, M, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Gomes, B, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
2B: Anderson, Le (26, Bisenius).
3B: Kiermaier (3, Bisenius).
TB: Flores, J; Belnome; Kiermaier 4; Figueroa, C; Anderson, Le 2.
RBI: Figueroa, C (55), Anderson, Le (70).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Duncan.
GIDP: Fontenot, Figueroa, C.
Team RISP: 0-for-4.
Team LOB: 4.
E: Belnome (6, fielding).
|Cunningham, T, CF||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.272|
|Mejia, E, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.246|
|Russell, An, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|1-Ran for Mejia, E in the 9th.|
TB: Mejia, E; Gartrell; Constanza 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Pagnozzi 2; Carrithers.
Team RISP: 1-for-8.
Team LOB: 7.
E: Leonard 2 (3, fielding, throw).
DP: 2 (Gilmartin-Nunez-Mejia, E, Gosselin-Nunez-Mejia, E).
|Kelly, M (W, 7-3)||6.1||2||1||0||2||6||0||3.12|
|Gomes, B (H, 3)||1.2||1||0||0||0||1||0||2.25|
|Lueke (S, 15)||1.0||1||0||0||1||1||0||0.71|
|Bisenius (L, 3-6)||1.0||2||2||1||0||1||0||5.71|
WP: Gomes, B.
Pitches-strikes: Kelly, M 93-61, Gomes, B 21-17, Lueke 23-14, Gilmartin 58-35, Bisenius 22-15, Cedeno 32-20, Russell, An 2-2.
Groundouts-flyouts: Kelly, M 8-3, Gomes, B 2-1, Lueke 2-0, Gilmartin 6-5, Bisenius 1-2, Cedeno 4-2, Russell, An 1-0.
Batters faced: Kelly, M 24, Gomes, B 6, Lueke 5, Gilmartin 18, Bisenius 6, Cedeno 8, Russell, An 1.
Inherited runners-scored: Gomes, B 2-0.
Umpires: HP: Doug Vines. 1B: Jon Byrne. 2B: Gabe Morales. 3B: Clint Fagan.
Weather: 72 degrees, cloudy.
Wind: 13 mph, In from LF.
Venue: Coolray Field.
August 15, 2013