Eight is Great
Already owning more wins than any other professional baseball team this season, the Durham Bulls could afford to let a personal accomplishment seep into a game plan on Sunday.
Of course, in accordance with their tremendous season, it didn’t get in the way of another win.
With a possible start in Wednesday’s Triple-A All-Star Game in mind, Durham starting pitcher J.D. Martin pitched only five innings. The bullpen took it from there, keeping Gwinnett at bay in a 2-1 Bulls’ International League win before a crowd of 8,198 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Martin (11-4) took over sole possession of the International League wins lead as the Bulls (62-35) captured their eighth consecutive win. Martin used only 68 pitches to record his 15 outs, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out five in his scoreless stint.
“Martin was in command the whole way,” Durham acting manager Dave Myers said. “If he wasn’t going to the All-Star Game, we probably could have gotten seven, maybe more out of him. He had everything working on both sides of the plate.”
Martin is expected to throw one inning for the International League all-star team against the Pacific Coast League all-stars in Wednesday’s game at Reno, Nev.
“I’m going to go there and we’ll see what they say,” Martin said. “I’ll plan to throw an inning and we’ll see how it goes.”
Normally, Martin would throw a bullpen session two days after a start. So waiting a day and throwing an inning at the Triple-A All-Star Game doesn’t mess his schedule up too badly.
Leslie Anderson made sure Martin headed to Reno with another win on his record. The Bulls left fielder had three hits on Sunday, including his 12th home run. He scored both of Durham’s runs.
Anderson singled to lead off the second inning against Gwinnett’s Brandon Beachy, an Atlanta Braves’ pitcher who is recovering from a 2012 Tommy John elbow surgery. Beachy walked Brandon Guyer and Mike Fontenot to load the bases with no outs.
Shelley Duncan was retired on pop fly in foul territory. But Evan Fray lofted a sacrifice fly to left with Anderson scoring for a 1-0 Bulls lead.
In the sixth inning, facing Braves relief pitcher Omar Poveda, Anderson ripped a 3-1 changeup over the right-field wall for a 2-0 Durham lead.
“I’m pretty certain Leslie was sitting changeup that whole at bat,” said Myers, Durham’s hitting coach. “He finally got one on 3-1 and went down and barreled that ball up pretty good.”
With Martin out of the game by then, four Durham relief pitchers were in the process of making him a winner. Steve Geltz, Adam Liberatore and Cory Wade each pitched a scoreless inning as Durham took a 2-0 lead into the ninth.
Hard-throwing Josh Lueke took over and got into trouble by issuing a lead-off walk to Sean Kazmar. Alden Carrithers singled before Philip Gosselin moved runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt.
Lueke struck out Brandon Boggs, throwing fastballs clocked at 98 and 97 mph for the final two strikes.
Using mostly breaking balls against Ernesto Mejia, Lueke ran the count full and uncorked a wild pitch that allowed a run to score in the process. But on his final pitch, a 97 mph fastball, Lueke got Mejia to hit a soft fly ball to centerfield that Brandon Guyer caught to end the game and send the teams to the All-Star break.
“Lueke was not quite on his game but he got two big outs that he needed,” Myers said. Sometimes you have to find a way to get the outs to win the game and he did.”
Notes: The Bulls are expected to activate outfielder Jason Bourgeois from the disabled list when the second half begins on Thursday. Bourgeois has batted .336 in 30 games for Durham this season…Durham resumes play at home at the DBAP on Thursday following the three-day All-Star break. The Bulls play Pawtucket, the Boston Red Sox Triple-A affiliate, in a four-game series…Myers went 2-0 over the weekend as acting manager while Charlie Montoyo worked on the coaching staff at the All-Star Futures Game in New York on Sunday. Bulls pitching coach Neil Allen also was chosen to work that game at Citi Field. Both are scheduled to be back in the Durham dugout on Thursday night.
Gwinnett |AB |R |H |RBI || Durham |AB |R |H |RBI ||
Carrithers, LF |4 |0 |1 |0 | Figueroa, 3B |4 |0 |0 |0 |
Gosselin, 2B |2 |0 |0 |0 | Beckham, SS |4 |0 |1 |0 |
Boggs, CF |4 |0 |1 |0 | Belnome, DH |4 |0 |0 |0 |
Mejia, E, 1B |4 |0 |0 |0 | Gimenez, C |4 |0 |1 |0 |
Gartrell, RF |3 |0 |1 |0 | Anderson, LF |3 |2 |3 |1 |
Leonard, 3B |2 |0 |0 |0 | Guyer, RF |2 |0 |0 |0 |
Nunez, DH |3 |0 |0 |0 | Fontenot, 2B |2 |0 |0 |0 |
Pagnozzi, C |3 |0 |0 |0 | Duncan, 1B |3 |0 |0 |0 |
Kazmar, SS |2 |1 |0 |0 | Frey, CF |2 |0 |1 |1 |
Totals |27 |1 |3 |0 | Totals |28 |2 |6 |2 |
Gwinnett|000|000|001 – 1
Durham|010|001|00x -- 2
LOB: Gwinnett 3, Durham 5. DP: Gwinnett 1, Durham 2. S: Gosselin. SF: Guyer
HR: Anderson, Le (12).
Gwinnett |IP |H |R |ER |BB |SO ||
Beachy (L, 0-3) |4.0 |4 |1 |1 |2 |4 |
Poveda |4.0 |2 |1 |1 |0 |5 |
Durham |IP |H |R |ER |BB |SO ||
Martin, J (W, 11-4) |5.0 |2 |0 |0 |1 |5 |
Geltz (H, 6) |1.0 |0 |0 |0 |0 |1 |
Liberatore (H, 6) |1.0 |0 |0 |0 |0 |3 |
Wade (H, 2) |1.0 |0 |0 |0 |1 |0 |
Lueke (S, 12) |1.0 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |
WP: Martin, J, Lueke. T: 2:37. A: 8,198.