Duncan returns to power Bulls' barrage
On a night when the Durham Bulls pounded out 15 hits, two stood out the most.
Shelley Duncan made the most of his return from a bereavement leave, blasting a pair of three-run homers as the Durham Bulls posted a 16-3 victory over the Louisville Bats on Monday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
"That was good to see," Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo said of Duncan's return performance. "For somebody to go through what he's gone through and then have the come and have a good game — that's beautiful."
Duncan capped a six-run rally in the second inning with his home run over the Blue Monster in left field, then closed the Bulls' scoring with his seventh homer of the season — which hit the grass under the snorting bull in left field.
"It was fun to come back and be a part of a 16-run game," Duncan said, though he struck out in his first trip to the plate. "The first at-bat, it felt like I had been gone a while. I just tried to relax (after that).
"The longer you're away, the harder it is to get back. It's a weird sport — everything is based on muscle memory. A lot of guys like to play every day; some have a hard time when they don't. So three days is a lot better than five or six. It's like an All-Star break."
Brandon Guyer and Leslie Anderson had three hits each for the Bulls, while Jason Bourgeois and Tim Beckham joined Duncan with a pair.
The hitting spree came a day after star prospect Wil Myers was called up to the Tampa Bay Rays.
"I'm glad we won this game, cause when you play a long game, you want to be on the good side — the winning side," Montoyo said of the game that last 3:22 and featured a combined 24 hits off nine pitchers. "That was a long game."
Durham's Cory Wade (2-0) pitched 2.2 innings of relief to record the victory.
The Bulls wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, as Bourgeois led off with a single, stole second and went to third when the throw sailed into center field, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Beckham. Guyer followed with a double and scored on a single by Anderson for a 2-0 Durham lead.
Louisville jumped on Bulls starter Alex Colome in the second to even the score with three hits and help by a Durham error. Felix Perez opened the rally with a single, Josh Fellhauer slapped a one-out hit to left and Jason Donald followed with an RBI single. Fellhauer scored on a sacrifice fly by Kristopher Negron, but Colome struck out Billy Hamilton to end the inning.
Durham sent 10 batters to the plate in the second to break the game open, with Mike Fontenot walking to start the rally and going to third on a single by Cole Figueroa. A groundout by Bourgeois plated Fontenot, and Beckham singled in Figueroa. Guyer and Anderson followed with singles, the latter driving in Beckham and ending the night for Bats starter Pedro Villarreal (1-5).
In the sixth, Beckham walked and scored on a triple to center by Anderson. Duncan drew a walk, and Fontenot followed with his second home run of the season, his first since May 11.
Corky Miller, the Bats' 37-year-old catcher, moved to the pitcher's mound in the eighth, surrendering Duncan's second homer before settling down to record the final four outs.
NOTES — Bulls starting pitcher J.D. Martin is the fifth Durham player to receive the league's weekly honors, joining Vince Belnome, Jake Odorizzi, Alex Colome and Wil Myers. Martin posted two wins during the week, beating Louisville on Monday and Indianapolis on Sunday for his IL-leading ninth victory. ... Mike Montgomery is scheduled to pitch for the Bulls today (7:05 p.m.) against Louisville's Yohan Pino.
Bulls 16, Bats 3
Hamilton cf|5|0|0|0|Bourgeois cf|6|2|2|1
Heisey dh|4|1|2|0|Beckham ss|3|2|2|2
Ashley c|1|0|0|0|Guyer rf|5|3|3|1
Rodriguez 3b|4|0|2|0|Anderson 1b|3|3|3|3
Perez lf|3|1|1|1|Duncan dh|3|3|2|6
Hessman 1b|4|0|0|0|Gimenez lf|4|0|0|0
Fellhauer rf|3|1|1|0|Fontenot 2b|4|2|1|3
Donald 2b|4|0|1|1|Flores c|5|0|1|0
Miller c-p|2|0|0|0|Figueroa 3b|5|1|1|0
E—Donald, Rodriguez, Perez, Jiminez, Fontenot. DP—Louisville 1, Durham 1. LOB—Louisville 8, Durham 6. 2B—Rodriguez, Guyer 2. 3B—Anderson. HR—Duncan 2 (7), Fontenot (2). SF—Beckham, Negron, Perez. SB—Bourgeois (17), Beckham (8).
Villarreal, P (L, 1-5)|1.2|8|8|8|1|1
Wade (W, 2-0)|2.2|3|1|1|1|2
PB—Miller. Umpires: HP: Will Little. 1B: David Soucy. 3B: Max Guyll. T—3:22. A—3,874.