Bulls take advantage of errors
First baseman Andy Wilkins dropped Jesus Flores’s pop up in foul territory. Then second baseman Tyler Greene slipped while fielding Flores’s grounder.
Instead of being out – twice – Flores reached first safely, and wound up scoring the game’s first run.
The Bulls would get plenty of help from Charlotte Saturday. All of Durham’s runs were unearned in a 5-2 win over the Knights at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
“That was beautiful. That’s the word I’m going to use,” Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo said. “We needed those, because right now it’s been a tough time to score runs. When you can score runs like that, we’ll take them every time.”
Matt Buschmann (6-1) allowed one hit in six innings and struck out seven as the Bulls (75-47) bounced back from its most lopsided defeat of the season, a 12-1 loss to Charlotte (57-64) on Friday, and increased their professional baseball-leading win total.
The team improved to 11-2 when Buschmann starts. The only hit the righty allowed was a leadoff single by Travis Ishikawa in the second inning; the Vanderbilt alum struck out the next three batters.
Durham almost couldn't score despite loading the bases with no outs in the second and third innings against Nick McCully (2-2), who was making his fourth career Triple-A start. Vince Belnome, Leslie Anderson and Shelley Duncan all singled to start the second, but Mike Fontenot hit into a 2-3-2 double play on the first pitch and Evan Frey grounded out.
After Flores reached because of an error in the third and the next two batters walked, McCully almost got out unscathed again when Tim Beckham struck out and Belnome flew out to shallow center. But this time Anderson came through with a two-run single off the glove of diving shortstop Marcus Semien. Durham added a third run in the inning when Duncan’s pop up to shallow right landed between three Charlotte fielders.
The Knights handed the Bulls another run in the eighth on a similar miscue. This time Semien dropped a pop up behind second base with two outs, allowing Frey to score.
Durham’s other run came when Greene, Charlotte’s second baseman, airmailed a relay throw on a potential inning-ending double play in the sixth inning, letting Duncan come around to score.
Greene redeemed himself with a two-run homer off Major League rehabber Brandon Gomes that kept Charlotte from being shut out. Greene’s homer were the only runs allowed in 5 1/3 innings so far by Gomes, a former closer for the Bulls who is coming back from a strained right lat.
After Gomes pitched 1 1/3 innings, Yates retired all five batters he faced to record his 16th save in 17 chances.
“(Yates) keeps dominating. That guy’s probably the MVP right now of this team,” Montoyo said. “He locates that fastball, and that fastball… explodes in the zone. That’s why 91-92 for him is like 97 for other guys.”
NOTES – The league leader in wins faces the league leader in losses today at 5:05 p.m. when Durham’s J.D. Martin (14-4, 2.84) goes up against Charlotte’s Zach Stewart (5-13, 5.02). Martin is attempting to set the Bulls’ Triple-A season record with his 15th win. …Since August 2, the Bulls have lost to the pitcher with the second-most losses in the league (Shawn Hill, Toledo) and the third most losses in the league (Jason Berken, Charlotte). … After today’s game, the Bulls will have their first day off since the All-Star Break on July 15-17. Durham then goes on a seven-game road trip to Gwinnett and Charlotte.
Bulls 5, Knights 2
Semien ss|4|0|0|0|Kiermaier cf|4|1|0|0
Tolleson lf|4|0|0|0|Figueroa 3b|3|1|1|0
Morel 3b |4|0|0|0|Beckham ss|4|0|0|0
Ishikawa rf|3|0|1|0|Belnome 1b|4|0|1|0
McDade dh|3|1|0|0|Anderson lf|3|0|2|2
Wilkins 1b|4|0|0|0|Duncan dh|3|1|2|1
Greene 2b|4|1|1|2|Fontenot 2b|4|0|0|0
Anderson c|2|0|0|0|Frey rf|2|1|0|0
Heisler cf|2|0|1|0|Flores c|4|1|1|0
DP—Charlotte 1, Durham 0. LOB—Charlotte 5, Durham 10. E—Wilkins, Greene, Semien. HR—Greene (3).
McCully (L, 2-2)|5.0|7|3|0|2|2
Buschmann (W, 6-1)|6.0|1|0|0|3|7
Yates (S, 16)|1.2|0|0|0|0|1
Umpires: HP: John Tumpane. 1B: Jon Saphire. 3B: A.J. Johnson. T—3:05. A—8,986.