Kelly, 3 relievers lift Bulls past Gwinnett on the road
The Durham Bulls took advantage of a quality start from Merrill Kelly and six walks issued by Gwinnett pitching to grab and early 4-0 lead and hang on through some shaky moments late for a 4-3 win.
Gwinnett out-hit the Bulls 9-8. Cole Figueroa was 2 for 5 with a double, the only Bulls’ hitter with more than one hit.
The Bulls got off to a fast start, reaching Gwinnett starter Mitch Atkins for a pair of runs in the top of the first on an extra-base hit and three straight walks.
Figueroa led things off with a double and was sacrificed to third by Justin Christian. Atkins then walked Vince Belnome and Wilson Betemit to load the bases. Another walk — to Jerry Sands — drove in Figueroa and Atkins wild-pitched Belnome home.
In the top of the third, the Bulls piled on with two more runs, all the action coming with two outs. Atkins got Belnome on a grounder and Betemit on a strikeout and looked to be sailing.
He was — into turbulence.
Sands and Mike Fontenot slapped back-to-back two-out singles, Mikie Mahtook singled Sands home and Fontenot scored on Robby Price’s ground-rule double.
Bulls starter Kelly rode the run train like a pro, although after a 1-2-3 first, he pitched with runners behind him in the next five innings.
Braves’ slugger Ernesto Mejia reached Kelly for a home run leading off the fourth, but other than that blast, Kelly stayed out of serious trouble.
He gave up a pair of harmless singles in the second, singles in the third and fourth (after Mejia’s homer) and walks in the fifth and sixth. Only one Braves runner — outside of Mejia — got as far as second base through the first six frames.
The Bulls are all too familiar with Mejia, a 6-5, 245 28-year-old Venezuelan slugger who won opening week International League player of the week honors after torching the Bulls for four home runs in the teams’ season-opening series at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Kelly gave way to reliever Juan Carlos Ovieda to open the bottom half of the seventh inning. Ovieda promptly got in trouble, surrendering a leadoff double to Edward Salcedo who promptly stole third.
The convention-defying theft paid off as Jose Constanza’s one-out sacrifice fly scored Salcedo and cut the lead to 4-2.
Bulls bats went quiet after Yunesky Maya replaced Atkins in the fourth inning and gave way after four shutout innings to Wirfin Obispo who walked Fontenot leading off the eighth, but retired the next three batters to keep it close
Brad Boxberger relieved Oviedo to open the bottom of the eighth and, like Oviedo, gave up a extra-base hit to the first batter he faced — a triple by Jerry Terdoslavich. Mejia drove in Terdoslavich with a single and was replaced by pinch-runner Derrick Mitchell who stole second to put the potential tying run in scoring position with none out.
Boxberger retired Tommy La Stella on a flyout and struck out Gosselin on a 3-2 offering before holding the lead with a two-out strikeout of Mark Hamilton.
Bulls’ closer Kirby Yates retired the side in the ninth, touched only for a two-out single, as he picked up his fourth save.
NOTES — The Bulls have won four straight games and six of their last seven ... Righthander Nathan Karns (0-1, 13.50) gets the start in today’s 2:05 p.m. game at Gwinnett against Braves’ righty Gavin Floyd (0-0, 5.06).
Durham Bulls (7-3) 4, Gwinnett Braves (4-5) 3
April 12, 2014
|Figueroa, C, SS||5||1||2||0||0||0||1||.381|
|Rodriguez, E, C||4||0||0||0||0||3||4||.071|
|Kelly, M, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
2B: Figueroa, C (3, Atkins), Price (1, Atkins).
TB: Fontenot; Betemit; Sands; Figueroa, C 3; Price 2; Christian; Mahtook.
RBI: Sands (7), Mahtook (4), Price (2).
2-out RBI: Mahtook; Price.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Mahtook 2; Christian; Rodriguez, E 2; Betemit.
Team RISP: 2-for-8.
Team LOB: 9.
|Cunningham, T, CF||5||0||0||0||0||0||3||.158|
|Mejia, E, 1B||4||1||2||2||0||0||0||.265|
|La Stella, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.286|
|Hamilton, M, DH||4||0||2||0||0||1||2||.333|
|1-Ran for Mejia, E in the 8th.|
2B: Salcedo (2, Oviedo).
3B: Terdoslavich (1, Boxberger).
HR: Mejia, E (6, 4th inning off Kelly, M, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Hamilton, M 2; Mejia, E 5; Salcedo 2; Constanza 2; La Stella; Terdoslavich 3.
RBI: Mejia, E 2 (12), Constanza (3).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Salcedo; Hamilton, M.
Team RISP: 1-for-6.
Team LOB: 8.
SB: Salcedo (2, 3rd base off Oviedo/Rodriguez, E), Mitchell (1, 2nd base off Boxberger/Rodriguez, E).
PB: Bethancourt (1).
DP: (La Stella-Gosselin-Mejia, E).
|Kelly, M (W, 2-0)||6.0||5||1||1||2||3||1||0.75|
|Oviedo (H, 1)||1.0||1||1||1||0||1||0||6.75|
|Boxberger (H, 2)||1.0||2||1||1||0||2||0||1.35|
|Yates (S, 4)||1.0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0.00|
|Atkins (L, 0-2)||3.0||5||4||4||4||3||0||9.00|
Pitches-strikes: Kelly, M 80-52, Oviedo 15-9, Boxberger 24-15, Yates 16-10, Atkins 75-43, Maya 60-37, Obispo 14-9, Severino 13-10.
Groundouts-flyouts: Kelly, M 7-4, Oviedo 1-1, Boxberger 0-1, Yates 2-0, Atkins 4-2, Maya 6-1, Obispo 1-0, Severino 1-0.
Batters faced: Kelly, M 25, Oviedo 4, Boxberger 5, Yates 4, Atkins 18, Maya 14, Obispo 4, Severino 4.
Umpires: HP: Derek Mollica. 1B: Jon Byrne. 3B: Angel Campos.
Weather: 78 degrees, clear.
Wind: 9 mph, R to L.
Venue: Coolray Field.
April 12, 2014
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media