The Durham Bulls whiffed their way to a season-high number of strikeouts over nine innings in Wednesday night’s game with Louisville.
It took two extra innings, though, for all those failed at-bats and other miscues to result in a loss.
The Bulls’ 19 strikeouts were a big reason why they failed to score after the fifth inning as their two-run lead disappeared into a 7-4, 11-inning loss at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The International League South Division-leading Bulls (71-45) were sloppy in other areas, too, as they dropped two games in the three-game series against Louisville (46-69)
“There were many spots of poor execution I don’t really need to name,” Bulls manager Jared Sandberg said. “But that poor execution came back and bit us tonight.”
The Bulls led 4-2 after five innings and appeared on their way to a win as starting pitcher Yonny Chirinos pitched seven innings and allowed just one earned run.
But a Chirinos walk, catcher Justin O’Conner’s passed ball and Tyler Goeddel’s RBI single in the seventh brought home an unearned run that cut the Durham’s lead to 4-3.
In the ninth inning, Bulls relief pitcher Chaz Roe struck out Brandon Dixon to start the inning and got Herman Iribarren to hit a ground ball to the right side. But Bulls second baseman Keon Wong mishandled the ball for an error that allowed Iribarren to reach first base.
Iribarren scooted to third on Chad Wallach’s single giving the Bats first and third with one out. Eric Jagielo hit a ground ball past third. Bulls third baseman Taylor Featherston fielded the ball and, unable to throw home to cut off the tying run, threw to second base for a force out. Iribarren scored to tie the game at 4.
Durham had a chance to win in the bottom of the ninth when Featherston stroked a lead-off double. But Jake Hager popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt for the first out. Wong flew out to right and, after Curt Casali was intentionally walked, Jake Bauers struck out to end the threat.
In the 11th, Wallach smacked a two-out, solo home run off Chase Whitely to put the Bats in front for good. After a walk and a single, Zach Vincej tripled off the left-field wall giving Louisville a pair of insurance runs.