Bulls waste pitching gem, fall to Mud Hens in finale 1-0
Runs and hits came at a premium Thursday night at Fifth Third Field.
In the end, three walks and a two-out double in the bottom of the eighth plated the game’s only run as the Toledo Mud Hens salvaged a split of their four-game series with the Durham Bulls 1-0.
Former Detroit Tigers and Miami Marlins pitcher Duane Below, 28, matched Bulls starter Nathan Karns with six shutout innings to open the game.
The Bulls had a chance at a big inning in the top of the first when Jayson Nix walked with one out and was doubled to third by Mikie Mahtook. Wilson Betemit flied out to right and the runners held. A walk to Jerry Sands loaded the bases, but Vince Belnome flied out to center to end the threat.
The Bulls’ only other baserunners over the next five innings were Ray Olmedo, who singled with two down in the top of the second, and Mahtook, who singled with one out in the third.
Mahtook got to second on a balk but was stranded as Betemit and Sands popped out to end the inning.
The Mud Hens’ best scoring chance off Karns came in the first as he walked leadoff hitter Ezequiel Carrera, who promptly stole second and later stole third with two down but couldn’t score.
Karns retired nine straight batters before giving up a single to Herman Perez leading off the fourth. Perez was erased on the next play, a double-play grounder. He also gave up a single to James McCann in the fifth and a single to Perez with two down in the sixth, the only three hits Karns allowed.
Below ended up retiring the last 11 batters he faced before giving way to reliever Pat McCoy to open the seventh.
Belnome reached McCoy for a leadoff single but was cut down at second trying to stretch it and was thrown out of the game after arguing the call.
The Mud Hens got a scoring opportunity off Bulls’ reliever Brandon Gomes in the bottom of the seventh. McCann, the first batter Gomes faced after relieving Karns, doubled leading off. But Gomes left him there courtesy of a pair of strikeouts and a line drive third out to Nix.
Hak-Ju Lee got as far as third on a single, a fielder’s choice and a two-out steal in the eighth for the Bulls, but Mahtook struck out against reliever Chad Smith (2-1) to end the threat.
The scoring futility ended in the bottom of the eighth off the Bulls’ third pitcher of the night, C.J. Riefenhauser (1-1), a victim of his own wildness.
Riefenhauser walked Carrera and Perez with one out, but picked Carrera off second. Perez took second during the ensuing rundown. Riefenhauser walked Tyler Collins and Hessman doubled to break the scoreless tie.
A relay from leftfielder Robby Price to shortstop Lee to catcher Curt Casali cut down Collins, attempting to score on the play, for the third out.
Kevin Whelan completed the shutout for the Mud Hens, pitching a scoreless ninth for his seventh save.
NOTES — RHP Alex Colome, a former Bulls, was optioned back to the Bulls from the parent Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday. RHP Doug Mathis was transferred to extended spring training to make room for Colome on the roster. ... With nine strikeouts Wednesday night, the Bulls pitching staff became the first in professional baseball to reach the 500 strikeouts (504) this season. Also, the Bulls have surrendered only 385 hits, making them the only team in professional baseball to have registed over 100 more strikeouts than hits allowed. ... Karns entered Thursday night’s start 1-0 with a 1.71 ERA over his previous four starts (26 1/3 IP, 16 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 9 BB, 26 K) after going 2-2 with an 8.20 ERA over his first six starts. ... The Bulls open a 10-game homestand at Durham Bulls Athletic Park tonight with LHP Mike Montgomery (6-1, 3.47) facing Lehigh Valley IronPigs RHP Greg Smith (4-2, 3.74) at 7:05 p.m. ... Fireworks are on tap after the game ... The Bulls and IronPigs continue the series on Saturday at 7:05 p.m., Sunday at 5:05 p.m. and Monday at 1:05 p.m.
Toledo Mud Hens (25-29) 1, Durham Bulls (32-23) 0
May 29, 2014
|Lee, H, SS||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.224|
|Nix, J, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||.263|
|Gomes, B, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
2B: Mahtook (18, Below).
TB: Olmedo; Lee, H; Belnome; Mahtook 3.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Belnome 2; Sands; Mahtook.
Team RISP: 0-for-5.
Team LOB: 7.
SB: Lee, H (6, 3rd base off Smith, C/McCann).
Outfield assists: Price (Collins at home).
DP: (Nix, J-Lee, H-Belnome).
Pickoffs: Riefenhauser (Carrera at 2nd base).
|Perez, H, SS||3||1||2||0||1||0||1||.249|
|Smith, C, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
2B: McCann (11, Gomes, B), Hessman (9, Riefenhauser).
TB: Hessman 2; McCann 2; Perez, H 2.
RBI: Hessman (29).
2-out RBI: Hessman.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Hessman 2; Lennerton.
Team RISP: 1-for-8.
Team LOB: 6.
SB: Carrera 2 (21, 2nd base off Karns/Casali, 3rd base off Karns/Casali), Perez, H (9, 3rd base off Karns/Casali).
CS: Carrera (4, 3rd base by Riefenhauser/Casali).
PO: Carrera (2nd base by Riefenhauser).
Outfield assists: Collins (Belnome at 2nd base).
|Riefenhauser (L, 1-1)||1.0||1||1||1||3||0||0||1.76|
|Smith, C (W, 2-1)||0.2||0||0||0||0||1||0||1.32|
|Whelan (S, 7)||1.0||0||0||0||1||3||0||1.15|
Pitches-strikes: Karns 103-62, Gomes, B 24-15, Riefenhauser 22-9, Below 96-57, McCoy 20-12, Smith, C 7-4, Whelan 21-14.
Groundouts-flyouts: Karns 6-3, Gomes, B 0-0, Riefenhauser 1-0, Below 5-7, McCoy 1-0, Smith, C 1-0, Whelan 0-0.
Batters faced: Karns 22, Gomes, B 4, Riefenhauser 5, Below 23, McCoy 5, Smith, C 2, Whelan 4.
Inherited runners-scored: Smith, C 1-0.
Ejections: Durham Bulls first baseman Vince Belnome ejected by 1B umpire David Soucy (7th)
Umpires: HP: Joey Amaral. 1B: David Soucy. 3B: Carlos Torres.
Weather: 68 degrees, clear.
Wind: 9 mph, In from RF.
T: 2:59 (:05 delay).
Venue: Fifth Third Field.
May 29, 2014
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media