Bourgeois' bat caps gritty pitching, defensive effort as Bulls win
The Bulls won the arms race and their 67th game Thursday, rallying past visiting Gwinnett 3-2 on Jason Bourgeois’ fourth-inning, two-run single.
But first the Bulls had to keep it close for starter and winner Merrill Kelly (5-1) and they did exactly that as centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier and leftfielder Bourgeois each threw out a player at the plate to cut Braves’ rallies short.
“In games like this, that’s huge,” Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo said of the outfield assists, each of which ended an inning. “It changes the momentum of the game — twice.”
The win in front of 9,255 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, was Durham’s third in four games against the Braves — the first two in Georgia, the last two here. The Bulls (67-39) remained the winningest team in all pro baseball.
Kelly escaped a potential disaster early as he twice faced one-out bases-loaded situations in the top of the first. An infield single, a sacrifice and three walks, the last to Stefan Gartrell, forced in the first run of the game.
But Phillip Gosselin’s fly to Kiermaier cost the Braves a pair of outs. Kiermaier’s catch and strong throw to the plate easily doubled up Tyler Pastornicky at the plate for the third out.
“Kelly made a good adjustment,” Montoyo said, referring to the young pitcher’s early control issues. “He was in trouble. I didn’t think he’d go three (innings) and he went six.”
The Bulls fell behind 2-0 in the third as Todd Cunningham led off with a triple down the right field line and scored on an RBI ground out by Pastornicky.
Alden Carrithers followed with a double off the glove of a diving Leslie Anderson at first and, with two outs, Gartrell singled to left and Kelly was bailed out by another outfield arm as Bourgeois’ perfect throw to catcher Jesus Flores cut down Carrithers trying to score for the third out.
Durham got its first real scoring chance in the third as Bourgeois reached second on an infield single and an error and Cole Figueroa walked. They moved up on a sacrifice by Chris Gimenez and Bourgeois scored on Anderson’s RBI grounder.
Braves starter Cody Martin (2-2) got Ryan Roberts to ground out to strand Figueroa at third.
The Bulls weren’t done.
Mike Fontenot singled and Shelly Duncan doubled him to third leading off the fourth.
Fontenot was cut down at the plate trying to score on a Kiermaier hard hit high bouncer to Ernesto Mejia in the first base hole. Flores went down on strikes and Kiermaier stole second.
Bourgeois’ two-out line-drive single to center drove in Duncan and Kiermaier to give the Bulls their first lead, 3-2.
Kelly stranded Pastornicky at second after a one-out double in the fifth, getting back-to-back batters to fly to Kiermaier.
The Bulls had a chance to break it open in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases on an error and two walks with one out, but Martin fanned Duncan and Kiermaier to end the threat.
That was it for Martin, replaced by Juan Cedeno in the sixth. Kelly was done after pitching a scoreless sixth, yielding to relief pitcher Steve Geltz.
Geltz pitched a scoreless seventh and C.J. Riefenhauser got one out in the eighth before all-star closer Kirby Yates came on for a perfect five-out save, his 12th.
Montoyo continues to be impressed by the work of his bullpen, in particular Yates (3-1, 1.35) and Josh Lueke (2-0, 0.60, 13 saves), who got the final six outs for the save in Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Gwinnett.
“It’s hard what they do. You can’t take it for granted,” Montoyo said.
NOTES — Montoyo gave Vince Belnome, who has the International League’s second best batting average (.328), the night off to both use more of his bench and because Belnome hasn’t hit Gwinnett pitching well. “I like to use a lot of players and it seemed like a good idea to give him a day off,” Montoyo said. ... Shortstop Tim Beckham, out on a personal leave, returned to the club Thursday and is eligible to play and expected to be in the lineup tonight at Columbus, Montoyo said. ... The Bulls apparently lost outfielder Brandon Guyer for an undisclosed amount of time when he fractured a finger on his right hand when hit by a pitch in the first inning. “At first we all thought it was just a gash, but it’s fractured,” Montoyo said in the clubhouse. “That’s all I know right now.” ... Guyer was replaced in right by Chris Gimenez.
The Bulls hit the road to Ohio for the next eight days — four in Columbus, four in Toledo — before returning to the DBAP against Gwinnett on Saturday, Aug. 3. ... Bulls-Columbus starters this weekend are the Matt Buschmann (5-0, 3.44) vs. T.J. House (3-10, 4.95) tonight at 7:15 p.m., J.D. Martin (12-4, 2.82) vs. Trevor Bauer (5-2, 3.84) at 7:05 p.m. Saturday and Jake Odorizzi (7-4, 3.64) vs. Danny Salazar (3-2, 3.28) Sunday at 6:05 p.m.
Durham Bulls (67-39) 3, Gwinnett Braves (45-61) 2
July 25, 2013
|Cunningham, T, CF||4||2||2||0||0||0||0||.289|
|Mejia, E, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||1||3||.243|
|Martin, C, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
2B: Carrithers (10, Kelly, M), Pastornicky (13, Kelly, M).
3B: Cunningham, T (4, Kelly, M).
TB: Gartrell; Cunningham, T 4; Pastornicky 2; Yepez; Carrithers 2.
RBI: Gartrell (22), Pastornicky (27).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Mejia, E.
Team RISP: 1-for-6.
Team LOB: 6.
E: Pastornicky 2 (9, throw, fielding), Kazmar (8, throw).
|Figueroa, C, SS||4||0||0||0||1||0||2||.300|
|Anderson, Le, 1B||3||0||0||1||1||1||3||.321|
|Roberts, R, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||0||2||.257|
|Flores, J, C||4||0||1||0||0||2||4||.189|
|Kelly, M, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
2B: Duncan (17, Martin, C).
TB: Flores, J; Duncan 3; Bourgeois 2; Fontenot 2.
RBI: Anderson, Le (61), Bourgeois 2 (48).
2-out RBI: Bourgeois 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Flores, J; Roberts, R; Kiermaier 2; Duncan.
Team RISP: 1-for-9.
Team LOB: 11.
SB: Kiermaier (1, 2nd base off Martin, C/Yepez).
Outfield assists: Kiermaier (Pastornicky at home), Bourgeois (Carrithers at home).
DP: (Kiermaier-Flores, J).
|Martin, C (L, 2-2)||5.0||5||3||3||4||4||0||3.26|
|Kelly, M (W, 5-1)||6.0||6||2||2||3||6||0||2.63|
|Geltz (H, 7)||1.0||0||0||0||0||1||0||3.44|
|Riefenhauser (H, 1)||0.1||0||0||0||1||0||0||4.00|
|Yates (S, 12)||1.2||0||0||0||0||2||0||1.35|
HBP: Guyer (by Martin, C).
Pitches-strikes: Martin, C 96-56, Cedeno 24-12, Lamm 21-18, Kelly, M 101-65, Geltz 19-12, Riefenhauser 6-2, Yates 13-10.
Groundouts-flyouts: Martin, C 7-2, Cedeno 2-0, Lamm 2-0, Kelly, M 3-6, Geltz 0-2, Riefenhauser 1-0, Yates 2-1.
Batters faced: Martin, C 26, Cedeno 5, Lamm 7, Kelly, M 25, Geltz 3, Riefenhauser 2, Yates 5.
Inherited runners-scored: Lamm 1-0, Yates 1-0.
Umpires: HP: Andy Dudones. 1B: Sean Barber. 3B: Toby Basner.
Weather: 78 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 3 mph, L to R.
Venue: Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
July 25, 2013
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media