Rochester shuts down another Bulls rally
The Durham Bulls got a grand slam from a player who just came off the disabled list and Rochester's pitchers issued 10 walks including three in the ninth to load the bases.
But instead of a walkoff victory by the Bulls, the Red Wings escaped with a 6-4 win to extend Durham's losing streak to three games Tuesday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Aaron Thompson (3-1) picked up the win for Rochester (65-54), while Jeff Clement led the way at the plate with three hits including his 15th home run of the season.
The Bulls notched just five hits off the Red Wings' pitching staff, including the four-run homer by Craig Albernaz in the second inning. Mike Fontenot added a pair of hits but was picked off first base in seventh inning ahead of a double by catcher Chris Gimenez.
"Little things get magnified when you not playing well," Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo said about Fontenot being picked off.
Reliever Josh Lueke (2-1) came on in the eighth for the Bulls and took the loss after giving up two hits when Rochester went ahead to stay. Deibinson Romero opened the rally with a leadoff infield single before being replaced by pinch runner Ray Olmedo. After Lueke retired the next two batters, No. 9 hitter James Beresford singled to center to drive in Olmedo for the go-ahead run.
Rochester added an insurance run in the ninth on a two-out single by Eric Farris and a double by Olmedo off Jeff Beliveau, the Bulls' fourth pitcher of the night.
In the bottom of the ninth, Gimenez, Evan Frey and Cole Figueroa filled the bases with walks by Rochester's A.J. Achter, who picked up his first save. But with two out, Tim Beckham was called out on strikes after falling behind 0-2 in the count.
"It's the same thing as (Monday)," Montoyo said of Durham's 4-2 loss in the opening game of the series. "We've got the tying run (on base) at the end and just can't get the big hit. We're just not hitting.
"When teams are struggling like we have and you walk people, that's when somebody's got to come up with a big hit."
Rochester's Eduardo Escobar slammed the first pitch by Bulls starter J.D. Martin into the seats in right-center for a quick 1-0 lead.
The Red Wings (65-54) added a pair of runs in the second, as Clement opened with a single and later scored when Jermaine Mitchell grounded into a force out. Beresford followed with an RBI double to score Mitchell from first for a 3-0 lead.
"J.D. did his job," Montoyo said. "He didn't have his command today, and he battled to get to the sixth.
"We just didn't hit. ... You just hope it doesn't last. ... There's just nothing you can do about it."
Rochester starter Scott Diamond, the third consecutive lefthander the Bulls have faced during their skid, had been cruising, sitting down the first five batters he faced before walking the bases loaded with two out in the second.
That's when Albernaz hit his first home run of the season — in fact, his first homer while wearing a Bulls uniform for most of the past five seasons — on Diamond's first pitch.
"I was ambushing him," Albernaz said. "If he tried to throw me an off-speed pitch, I was going to take it. I was ready for the fastball, absolutely.
"I know I can hit a home run; it's just that I've got to get a good pitch to hit."
Albernaz went on the disabled list July 4 and returned to the roster when outfielder Jason Bourgeois was called up to the Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
The game progressed quietly until one out in the fifth when Martin hit Escobar with the first pitch of his at-bat, prompting both teams to be warned by home plate umpire Clint Fagan after the benches emptied onto the field without altercation.
"It absolutely was not intentional," Gimenez said of the pitch that hit Escobar. "He was mad because we came inside twice on him. I did not understand that it's illegal to do that after you swing at the first pitch and hit a home run.
"I saw him on the ground; he got up, started pointing at J.D. and that's when I stepped in and said, 'Just walk to first base.' Then he started to getting in my face. ... I said, 'We're not trying to hit you; it's a one-run ballgame.' ... I think the heat of the moment got to him. ... I just didn't like what he said to J.D."
Rochester tied the score in the sixth on Clement's 15th home run of the season.
NOTES — Albernaz's grand slam was the first off the snorting bull since one by Midre Cummings, a walkoff homer against Columbus on April 19, 2004. ... The Rays are the fifth major-league team for Bourgeois, including the Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee, Houston and Kansas City.
Red Wings 6, Durham 4
ROC|ab|r |h |bi|DUR|ab|r|h|bi
Escobar, SS |4 |1 |1 |1 | Kiermaier,CF |5 |0 |0 |0
Hicks, CF |3 |0 |0 |0 | Figueroa, 3B |4 |0 |1 |0
Parmelee, 1B |4 |0 |0 |0 | Beckham, SS |5 |0 |0 |0
Willingham, LF |3 |0 |0 |0 | Belnome, 1B |3 |0 |0 |0
Farris, LF |2 |1 |2 |0 | Anderson,LF |3 |0 |0 |0
Clement, DH |5 |2 |3 |2 | Fontenot, 2B |3 |1 |2 |0
Romero, 3B |4 |0 |2 |0 | Gimenez, C |2 |1 |1 |0
Olmedo, PR-3B |1 |1 |0 |0 | Frey, RF |1 |1 |0 |0
Pinto, C |4 |0 |0 |0 | Albernaz, DH |3 |1 |1 |4
Mitchell, RF-CF |4 |1 |1 |1 | | | | |
Beresford, 2B |4 |0 |2 |2 | | | | |
Totals |38 |6 |11 |6 | Totals |29 |4 |5 |4
E: Martin (6). LOB: Rochester 9, Durham 8.
2B: Beresford, Clement, Gimenez. HR: Escobar (1), Clement (15), Albernaz (1).
Rochester |IP |H |R |ER |BB |SO
Diamond |6.0 |3 |4 |4 |4 |3
Thompson (W, 3-1) |1.1 |2 |0 |0 |1 |0
Eppley |0.1 |0 |0 |0 |0 |0
Ibarra |0.1 |0 |0 |0 |4 |0
Achter (S, 1) |1.0 |0 |0 |0 |1 |2
Martin |6.0 |6 |4 |4 |1 |5
Gomes |1.0 |1 |0 |0 |1 |0
Leuke (L, 2-1) |1.0 |2 |1 |1 |0 |0
Beliveau |1.0 |2 |1 |1 |1 |0
WP—Gomes. HBP—Escobar (by Martin). T—3:24. A—4,759.