Dearth of timely hitting costs Bulls dearly in homestand finale
Louisville’s Adam Russell struck out Durham’s Mike Mahtook in the bottom of the ninth inning to earn a 5-4 save that helped the Bats clinch its series with the Bulls at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Tuesday.
The Bats (22-23) won the series 3-1 on a bullpen day for both teams that had no shortage of pitching changes.
Louisville’s Nick Christiani (2-0) got the win by tossing two scoreless innings when he relieved starter Curtis Partch.
Durham’s Jim Patterson (1-1) absorbed the loss, but Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo said his team’s pitching was not the issue during the eight-game homestand or so far in May, for that matter.
“It’s been a rough month when it comes to the hitting,” Montoyo said. “We’re hitting .205 with runners in scoring position. That’s not going to do it. Our pitching is giving us a chance.”
The three runs Patterson gave up on two hits in 1 2/3 innings snapped his string of 8 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings.
The Bulls (26-21) were down 5-3 in ninth when Mike Fontenot smashed a hard grounder off the pitcher’s mound into center field. That hit scored Ali Solis from second base.
Louisville’s infielders huddled at the mound with Russell, who toed the rubber and fanned Mahtook with Fontenot representing the tying run on first.
“We’re not getting the big hit, and we need to score runs to win games and we’re not right now. That’s actually the whole story,” Montoyo said. “We’re striking out too much, and we’re not putting the ball in play. Nobody’s going to make errors when somebody strikes out.”
In the third inning, Mahtook drove in Hak-Ju Lee for the game’s first run.
Louisville’s Bryan Anderson tied the game in the fifth when he took a 3-1 pitch deep to right field and over the fence.
In the sixth, Patterson was on the mound when Louisville slugger Donald Lutz launched a three-run home run about 400 feet to right-center field, his bat giving the Bats a 4-1 lead.
Lee’s two-run homer in the seventh made it a 4-3 game and gave Durham a decent shot at pulling out a win, but the Bulls kept leaving men on base and striking out.
“We’ve got to be more focused in those situations,” Bulls third baseman and switch hitter Ray Olmedo said. “We’ve got to be locked in, especially with two outs.”
“Hopefully, the bats will get hot,” Montoyo said.
The Bulls have a day off today to think about things before hitting the road for eight games starting Thursday in Columbus (7:05 p.m., CBS Sports Network).
Bulls left-hander Enny Romero (2-4, 4.75) is scheduled to start against Clippers right-hander Kyle Davies (1-2, 3.26).
To hear Montoyo tell it, Romero will be fine — the issue is whether the rest of the Bulls will give him any help when they’re at the plate.
“At the end of the day, it’s up to the batter,” Montoyo said. “Of course, we go through those drills in batting practice. By the time the guy gets to the plate, it’s up to him. It’s like Ted Williams used to say, ‘God takes you to the plate, but then it’s up to you.’”
NOTES — Before Tuesday, Louisville hadn’t won a series at the DBAP since 2005. … Durham finished the homestand 4-4. … Bulls infielder Wilson Betemit was 0 for 4, ending his eight-game hitting streak. … Mahtook’s single in the sixth allowed him to finish the homestand 11 for 32 with nine RBI.
Louisville Bats (22-23) 5, Durham Bulls (26-21) 4
May 20, 2014
|Perez, F, RF||3||1||0||0||1||0||3||.282|
|Lutz, D, 1B||4||1||2||3||0||0||1||.250|
|Anderson, B, C||4||1||1||1||0||3||1||.360|
|Diaz, A, SS||3||0||2||0||1||1||0||.245|
|Rogers, Ch, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Russell, Ad, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|1-Ran for Diaz, A in the 9th.|
2B: Diaz, A (6, Lara, B).
HR: Anderson, B (1, 5th inning off Mathis, 0 on, 1 out), Lutz, D (1, 6th inning off Patterson, 2 on, 1 out).
TB: Nelson; Lutz, D 5; Iribarren; Bourgeois; Anderson, B 4; Diaz, A 3.
RBI: Anderson, B (6), Lutz, D 3 (3), Bourgeois (21).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Perez, F; Anderson, B.
Team RISP: 2-for-4.
Team LOB: 6.
SB: Lutz, D (1, 2nd base off Lara, B/Solis).
E: Dennick (1, fielding).
Outfield assists: Perez, F (Mahtook at 2nd base).
|1-Nix, J, PR-DH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.417|
|Lee, H, SS||4||2||2||2||0||1||1||.206|
|Lara, B, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|1-Ran for Betemit in the 8th.|
2B: Sands (10, Russell, Ad).
HR: Lee, H (1, 7th inning off Rogers, Ch, 1 on, 2 out).
TB: Sands 2; Olmedo; Christian 2; Fontenot; Lee, H 5; Mahtook.
RBI: Mahtook (18), Lee, H 2 (8), Fontenot (13).
2-out RBI: Lee, H 2; Fontenot.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Solis 2; Betemit; Olmedo 2.
Team RISP: 2-for-6.
Team LOB: 8.
SB: Belnome (2, 3rd base off Partch/Anderson, B), Olmedo (6, 2nd base off Partch/Anderson, B).
DP: (Fontenot-Lee, H-Belnome).
|Christiani (W, 2-0)||2.0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0.00|
|Hyde (H, 2)||1.1||2||1||1||0||1||0||5.40|
|Rogers, Ch (H, 2)||0.2||1||1||1||0||1||1||5.55|
|Dennick (H, 7)||0.2||0||0||0||0||1||0||1.89|
|Russell, Ad (S, 2)||1.1||2||1||1||1||3||0||0.82|
|Patterson (L, 1-1)||1.2||2||3||3||1||1||1||2.70|
IBB: Belnome (by Russell, Ad).
HBP: Solis (by Russell, Ad).
Pitches-strikes: Partch 54-31, Christiani 28-17, Hyde 16-14, Rogers, Ch 11-7, Dennick 9-6, Russell, Ad 33-17, Mathis 66-42, Patterson 31-19, Sandoval 27-16, Lara, B 22-14, Thompson 8-6.
Groundouts-flyouts: Partch 4-0, Christiani 4-1, Hyde 0-0, Rogers, Ch 0-1, Dennick 1-0, Russell, Ad 1-0, Mathis 6-3, Patterson 2-1, Sandoval 2-2, Lara, B 1-1, Thompson 1-0.
Batters faced: Partch 13, Christiani 7, Hyde 5, Rogers, Ch 3, Dennick 3, Russell, Ad 8, Mathis 17, Patterson 8, Sandoval 6, Lara, B 5, Thompson 2.
Inherited runners-scored: Rogers, Ch 1-1, Russell, Ad 1-0, Patterson 1-0, Thompson 1-1.
Umpires: HP: David Soucy. 1B: Carlos Torres. 3B: Joey Amaral.
Weather: 74 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 10 mph, Out to CF.
Venue: Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
May 20, 2014
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media