Bulls shut down IronPigs in series opener
Three Durham pitchers combined for a four-hitter, as the Bulls opened their series at Lehigh Valley with a 3-1 victory Tuesday night at Coca-Cola Park.
Merrill Kelly (2-0) started for the Bulls, going 5.2 innings and yielding three hits and the IronPigs’ only run. He struck out three and walked four before being relieved by Adam Liberatore, who posted three strikeouts and gave up the other Lehigh Valley hit in two innings.
Kirby Yates struck out three of the five batters he faced in recording his eighth save.
Ryan Roberts posted a pair of hits to lead Durham’s offense, while Tim Beckham added his 13th double of the season to drive in the Bulls’ first run.
Cole Figueroa opened the third inning with a single to center field, and Beckham delivered a two-out double to left for a 1-0 Durham lead.
The Bulls struck again in the fourth, with Vince Belnome leading off with a single and scoring on a double by Roberts. After Roberts went to third on a groundout by Leslie Anderson, a wild pitch by IronPigs starter Raul Valdes (2-3) gave the Bulls a 3-0 lead.
Lehigh Valley had runners on first and third with one out in the bottom of the fourth, but Kelly got a strikeout and a groundout to end the threat.
The IronPigs finally got on the board in the sixth, but the damage could have been worse. Pete Orr ripped a leadoff single, and Cesar Hernandez singled to center fielder Brandon Guyer, whose error on the play allowed the runners to advance to second and third.
Cody Asche walked to load the bases, and Cody Overbeck drew a two-out base on balls to force in Orr and pull Lehigh Valley within a pair. Liberatore came on and got Steve Susdorf to send a pop fly to Guyer for the final out.
NOTES — The Bulls announced Tuesday that they will retire Chipper Jones’ jersey No. 10 in a ceremony on Aug. 20 after a game against the Charlotte Knights. Jones played 70 games with the single-A Bulls in 1992 as a prospect for the Atlanta Braves. He will be the fourth person honored with a retired number, joining Crash Davis (8), Joe Morgan (18) and former manager Bill Evers (20). ... The Bulls are scheduled to have Matt Buschmann (2-0, 1.59 ERA) on the mound today (7:05 p.m.) against Lehigh Valley lefty Tom Cochran (3-2, 4.68).
Bulls 3, IronPigs 1
Guyer cf|4|0|0|0|Mitchell cf|4|0|0|0
Beckham ss|3|0|1|1|Hernandez 2b|3|0|1|0
Bourgeois lf|4|0|0|0|Asche 3b|2|0|1|0
Belnome 1b|4|1|1|0|Ruf 1b|4|0|0|0
Roberts 2b|3|1|2|1|Overbeck dh|2|0|0|1
Anderson rf|4|0|1|0|Susdorf rf|4|0|0|0
Gimenez dh|4|0|0|0|Martinez ss|4|0|0|0
Figueroa 3b|4|1|1|0|Rupp c|4|0|1|0
Flores c|4|0|0|0|Orr lf|3|1|1|0
E—Guyer, Martinez. LOB—Durham 6, Lehigh Valley 7. 2B—Beckham, Roberts, Rupp. SB—Hernandez.
Kelly (W, 2-0)|5.2|3|1|1|4|3
Liberatore (H, 4)|2.0|1|0|0|0|2
Yates (S, 8)|1.1|0|0|0|0|3
Valdes (L, 2-3)|7.0|6|3|3|0|4
WP—Valdes. HBP—Overbeck (by Yates). Umpires—HP, Travis Carlson; 1B, John Tumpane; 2B, Ryan Blakney; 3B, Kelvin Bultron. T—2:49. A—8,664.