PawSox deal Bulls third straight post-All-Star break defeat
Perhaps the Durham Bulls would like to return to the All-Star break and start the second half all over again.
The International League’s top team over the season’s first three months, the Bulls have lost all three games since play resumed and have looked progressively worse each night.
On Saturday night, the Bulls committed a season-high four errors and their pitchers allowed a season-worst 16 hits in a 9-6 loss to Pawtucket at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
A crowd of 8,983 showed up to see the team that’s comfortably leading the International League’s South Division. But they saw the Bulls fall behind 9-2 to the North Division-leading Red Sox before a late rally fell short.
“We are just getting our booties kicked,” Durham manager Charlie Montoyo said. “I don’t want to make it more than what it is. They are playing a lot better than we are.”
The Bulls (63-38) got a sub-par performance from their starting pitcher for the third consecutive game since the team took three days of for the All-Star break.
Merrill Kelly hadn’t allowed a run in his previous two starts, covering 13 innings. But after the Bulls scored a run in the first, he allowed two runs in the third and three more on a Jackie Bradley Jr. three-run homer in the fourth inning.
Pawtucket touched Kelly for a single run in the fifth to lead 6-1. Kelly (4-1) left the game having allowed nine hits and six runs (five earned) while issuing two walks and suffered his first loss of the season.
“We’re not pitching very good and they are taking advantage of the bad pitches,” Montoyo said. “You have to give them credit. They are comfortable at the plate and are taking good hacks.”
Meanwhile, Bulls hitters managed just two runs over the first seven innings against Pawtucket starter Charlie Haeger (2-1).
By the time the Bulls solved the knuckleballer, they were too far behind to catch the Red Sox.
Haeger carried a seven-run lead and had two outs in the eighth inning. But Shelley Duncan’s two-out single drove in one run and Duncan scored when Leslie Anderson slammed a two-run home run to right field.
Tim Beckham followed with a solo home run to left-centerfield, slicing Pawtucket’s lead to 9-6 before Haeger left the game.
Brandon Lyon, who has pitched in the big leagues with Arizona, Houston, Boston, Toronto and the New York Mets, made his Pawtucket debut after joining the team on Friday. He pitched the final 1 1/3 innings and got the save.
“The team keeps fighting back, which is great,” Montoyo said. “But they are out-playing us for sure.”
Bulls centerfielder Jason Bourgeois said the sloppy play, which included a wild pitch and a passed ball in addition to the four errors, isn’t indicative of the team’s play this season. Despite the losing streak, he believes the Bulls have enough talent to straighten things out.
“We are just not getting it done,” Bourgeois said. “There are really not any excuses at all. We are just not really executing. We’re just a little off right now. That’s baseball. It’s three games but we’ll come back tomorrow ready to play.”
NOTES — Pawtucket outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., narrowly missed hitting for the cycle in Saturday night’s game. Bradley had a home run, triple and double. He reached base in the sixth inning when the Bulls failed to retire him on a ground ball to first base. But the play was called an error because Durham pitcher C.J. Riefenhauser failed to step on the bag ... The Bulls and Pawtucket complete their four-game series today as the Red Sox go for the sweep. Matt Buschmann (5-0, 2.36) gets the start for Durham with Allen Webster (5-2, 3.41) starting for Pawtucket.
Pawtucket Red Sox (56-44) 9, Durham Bulls (63-38) 6
July 20, 2013
|Bradley Jr., RF||6||2||3||4||0||1||2||.295|
|Diaz, J, 2B||5||0||3||1||1||0||1||.256|
|Hamilton, M, 1B||4||1||1||0||1||1||2||.261|
|Rosario, A, C||4||1||2||1||0||1||2||.262|
2B: Diaz, J (9, Kelly, M), Bermudez (9, Kelly, M), Bogaerts (2, Riefenhauser), Bradley Jr. (19, Lueke).
3B: Bradley Jr. (3, Kelly, M).
HR: Bradley Jr. (8, 4th inning off Kelly, M, 2 on, 1 out).
TB: Diaz, J 4; Hamilton, M; Hassan; Bogaerts 2; Bradley Jr. 9; Hazelbaker 2; Rosario, A 2; Bermudez 4.
RBI: Bradley Jr. 4 (25), Diaz, J (23), Bermudez (12), Bogaerts (21), Rosario, A (4).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Hamilton, M 2; Hazelbaker 2; Rosario, A; Middlebrooks 2; Diaz, J.
SAC: Rosario, A.
Team RISP: 6-for-16.
Team LOB: 11.
PB: Rosario, A 3 (4).
DP: 2 (Diaz, J-Bogaerts-Hamilton, M, Haeger-Bogaerts-Hamilton, M).
|Figueroa, C, 3B||3||1||0||0||2||0||2||.300|
|Anderson, Le, LF||4||1||1||2||0||0||2||.326|
|Beckham, T, SS||3||1||2||1||1||0||0||.273|
|Flores, J, C||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.181|
|Kelly, M, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Ramirez, R, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
2B: Guyer (19, Haeger), Flores, J (3, Lyon).
HR: Anderson, Le (13, 8th inning off Haeger, 1 on, 2 out), Beckham, T (3, 8th inning off Haeger, 0 on, 2 out).
TB: Flores, J 3; Beckham, T 5; Guyer 3; Duncan; Bourgeois; Fontenot; Anderson, Le 4.
RBI: Bourgeois (44), Duncan (40), Anderson, Le 2 (56), Beckham, T (36).
2-out RBI: Duncan; Anderson, Le 2; Beckham, T.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Anderson, Le; Bourgeois; Guyer.
GIDP: Fontenot, Guyer.
Team RISP: 1-for-10.
Team LOB: 6.
E: Kelly, M (1, fielding), Flores, J (3, missed catch), Riefenhauser (1, missed catch), Beckham, T (16, throw).
PB: Flores, J (2).
DP: (Figueroa, C-Belnome).
|Haeger (W, 2-1)||7.2||9||6||5||4||1||2||6.56|
|Lyon (S, 1)||1.1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0.00|
|Kelly, M (L, 4-1)||5.0||9||6||5||2||5||1||2.57|
Pitches-strikes: Haeger 111-62, Lyon 15-10, Kelly, M 96-69, Riefenhauser 39-26, Ramirez, R 17-11, Lueke 18-13.
Groundouts-flyouts: Haeger 12-5, Lyon 2-2, Kelly, M 5-4, Riefenhauser 3-0, Ramirez, R 2-0, Lueke 1-0.
Batters faced: Haeger 34, Lyon 5, Kelly, M 27, Riefenhauser 11, Ramirez, R 5, Lueke 4.
Inherited runners-scored: Ramirez, R 2-0.
Umpires: HP: Toby Basner. 1B: Andy Dudones. 3B: Sean Barber.
Weather: 87 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 8 mph, Out to CF.
Venue: Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
July 20, 2013
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media