Duncan, Bulls topple Mud Hens
Shelley Duncan scored three runs and blasted his 10th home run of the season as the Durham Bulls got five of their nine hits from the bottom of the order in a 6-2 victory over the Toledo Mud Hens on Tuesday night at Fifth Third Field.
Durham starter Merrill Kelly (6-1) went five innings, scattering four hits and three walks to take the win.
Duncan, Kevin Kiermaier and Jason Bourgeois had a pair of hits for the Bulls (70-41), who continue to have the most wins in professional baseball and clinched at least a split in the season series against the Mud Hens.
The Bulls took the lead in the first inning, as Tim Beckham led off with a single, went to third on a hit by Cole Figueroa and scored on a single by Bourgeois. But Toledo starter Kyle Lobstein (2-2) struck out Ryan Roberts and Chris Gimenez to strand runners on the corners.
Durham padded the lead in the third when Figueroa was hit by a pitch with one out, Bourgeois singled and Vince Belnome reached first on an error to allow Figueroa to score. A sacrifice fly by Roberts drove in Bourgeois for a 3-1 cushion.
The Bulls loaded the bases with one out in the fourth on singles by Duncan and Jesus Flores and a walk by Beckham, and Figueroa’s groundout plated Duncan for a 4-0 lead.
Tolodo got on the board in the fifth when Kevin Russo ripped a two-out double, then Kelly walked Avisail Garcia, Jordan Lennerton and Nick Castellanos to force in a run.
Duncan drew a base on balls to open the sixth, went to third on a double by Kiermaier and scored on a sacrifice fly by Flores for a 5-1 lead.
After Duncan’s blast in the eighth, the Mud Hens posted a run in the ninth off Bulls reliever Ramon Ramirez on back-to-back two-out doubles by Bryan Holaday and Danny Worth to set the final margin.
NOTES — The Bulls will have Matt Buschmann (5-0, 3.23 ERA) on the mound today in the second game of series against Toledo’s Jair Jurrjens (6-6, 4.18). J.D. Martin (13-4, 2.76), the IL pitcher of the week, is scheduled to throw Thursday against the Mud Hens’ Jose Alvarez (7-4, 2.64).