Who needs clutch hits? Bulls walk past Knights 6-4
The Durham Bulls have struggled to hit with runners in scoring position during their recent slide. The Charlotte Knights made sure the Bulls didn’t need any clutch hits on Wednesday.
Charlotte starter Charlie Leesman gave up three bases-loaded walks during Durham’s five-run third inning as the Bulls beat the Knights 6-4 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Curt Casali drew a full-count walk to put Durham ahead 4-3, and Ray Olmedo followed with a five-pitch walk. After Ali Solis struck out, Hak-Ju Lee walked on four pitches to make it 6-3.
Leesman (1-3), who was named IL Pitcher of the Week on Monday after throwing eight shutout innings in his previous start against Buffalo, allowed six hits and four walks and hit a batter in 2.2 innings.
The Bulls (24-17) had been hitting .195 with runners in scoring position during their last nine games, going 3-6. Outfielder Mikie Mahtook had an RBI single in the first inning and a two-run double in the third inning to score the other Durham runs.
Bulls starter Merrill Kelly had his shortest start of the season, giving up eight hits and four runs (three earned) in 4.1 innings, but the Durham bullpen continued to bail out the rotation.
Adam Liberatore (1-0) retired all eight batters he faced after replacing Kelly, Braulio Lara pitched a perfect eighth and Kirby Yates converted his 11th save in 11 opportunities.
The Durham starters have only posted four wins over the last 25 games, but the bullpen entered Wednesday with a 2.25 ERA. Liberatore hasn’t allowed a run in his last 14 innings, while Jeff Beliveau, Jim Patterson and Lara haven’t allowed a run in 28.1 innings with the Bulls this season. Yates has allowed just one run in 18.0 innings.
Charlotte’s bullpen was just as strong on Wednesday – Taylor Thompson, Nelvin Fuentes, Maikel Cleto and Mitchell Boggs allowed just one hit in 5.1 innings.
But once Kelly departed, the Knights (13-26) only got one more baserunner – a leadoff single in the ninth off Yates. That brought up the top of the order, but Yates got two groundouts and a strikeout as Charlotte lost to its in-state rival for the 14th time in 17 games at the DBAP dating back to the start of last season.
NOTES — Bulls infielder Cole Figueroa was replaced by a pinch hitter in the first inning and could be called up to the major league’s for the first time in his six-year career. Figueroa was second in batting average (.299) and on-base percentage (.397) among the Bulls regulars this season. Rays infielder Ben Zobrist injured his thumb Wednesday and Tampa Bay will decide today if Zobrist will go on the disabled list. … Two-time American League All-Star Chris Sale will be making a rehab start for Charlotte today at 7:05 p.m. against Durham’s Emmy Romero (2-4, 5.02). Sale was 3-0 for the White Sox before going on the disabled list with a flexor muscle strain in his left arm.
Durham Bulls (24-17) 6, Charlotte Knights (13-26) 4
May 14, 2014
|Johnson, Mica, 2B||5||1||2||0||0||0||3||.222|
|Sanchez, C, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||4||.272|
|Hernandez, Go, CF||4||0||1||1||0||1||3||.255|
|Mitchell, J, LF||3||0||1||0||1||1||0||.186|
|Thompson, Ta, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
2B: Johnson, Mica (1, Kelly, M), Phegley 2 (9, Kelly, M, Kelly, M), Tekotte (8, Kelly, M).
HR: Wilkins (8, 1st inning off Kelly, M, 1 on, 1 out).
TB: Tekotte 3; Wilkins 4; Hernandez, Go; Mitchell, J; Johnson, Mica 3; Phegley 4.
RBI: Wilkins 2 (23), Tekotte (6), Hernandez, Go (5).
2-out RBI: Tekotte.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Hernandez, Go; Sanchez, C; Saladino 3; Wilkins.
SAC: Sanchez, C.
GIDP: Sanchez, C.
Team RISP: 3-for-15.
Team LOB: 8.
CS: Tekotte (3, 2nd base by Kelly, M/Solis).
DP: (Davidson-Johnson, Mica-Wilkins).
|Lee, H, SS||3||0||1||1||2||1||1||.189|
|Figueroa, C, 2B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.299|
|Kelly, M, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Lara, B, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-Flied out for Figueroa, C in the 1st.|
2B: Mahtook (8, Leesman).
TB: Sands 2; Fontenot; Kiermaier; Lee, H; Mahtook 3.
RBI: Mahtook 3 (13), Casali (1), Olmedo (8), Lee, H (4).
2-out RBI: Mahtook; Lee, H.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Fontenot; Christian 2; Kiermaier.
Team RISP: 3-for-9.
Team LOB: 7.
SB: Christian (6, 3rd base off Leesman/Phegley), Lee, H (3, 2nd base off Fuentes/Phegley), Olmedo (5, 2nd base off Boggs/Phegley).
CS: Olmedo (2, 3rd base by Boggs/Phegley).
E: Olmedo (3, throw).
DP: (Kelly, M-Lee, H-Sands).
|Leesman (L, 1-3)||2.2||6||6||6||4||4||0||2.95|
|Liberatore (W, 1-0)||2.2||0||0||0||0||2||0||1.99|
|Lara, B (H, 2)||1.0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0.00|
|Yates (S, 11)||1.0||1||0||0||0||1||0||0.50|
HBP: Phegley (by Kelly, M), Fontenot (by Leesman).
Pitches-strikes: Leesman 73-44, Thompson, Ta 16-14, Fuentes 46-25, Cleto 18-13, Boggs 13-6, Kelly, M 86-51, Liberatore 26-16, Lara, B 8-5, Yates 17-10.
Groundouts-flyouts: Leesman 3-1, Thompson, Ta 1-0, Fuentes 1-2, Cleto 0-0, Boggs 0-1, Kelly, M 6-3, Liberatore 5-0, Lara, B 0-1, Yates 2-0.
Batters faced: Leesman 19, Thompson, Ta 4, Fuentes 7, Cleto 4, Boggs 3, Kelly, M 24, Liberatore 8, Lara, B 3, Yates 4.
Inherited runners-scored: Thompson, Ta 3-0, Liberatore 2-0.
Umpires: HP: Jon Byrne. 1B: Derek Mollica. 3B: Ryan Monteleone.
Weather: 86 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 10 mph, In from RF.
Venue: Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
May 14, 2014
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media