Mike Montgomery’s start for the Durham Bulls Friday night was far better than the previous time he took the mound.
Alas, it still wasn’t good enough to get he and the first-place Bulls a win.
After being touched for eight runs in his worst outing of the season last Sunday, Montgomery surrendered four runs, including two in the seventh inning, as Toledo beat Durham 5-3 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The loss is the third in a row for Durham (56-49), which saw its lead in the International League South Division fall to eight games over Gwinnett.
“Our starters have been very good, but when you are pitching with no room for error it’s tough,” Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He gave up two runs, which seems like a lot all of the sudden. Then you give up two more and it seems like its a lot again.”
Having pitched for the International League in the Triple-A All-Star Game at the DBAP on July 16, Montgomery was roughed up in his next outing. He recorded only four outs as Gwinnett scored eight runs (five earned) on eight hits in an 11-3 Durham loss.
“Last game I wasn’t executing pitches, I wasn’t throwing inside,” Montgomery said. “Tonight, I thought I did a pretty good job but that last inning I kind of let it get away.”
On Friday night, Montgomery (9-3) allowed only a two-run home run to Tyler Collins over the first six innings and the game was tied 2-2 entering the seventh inning.
But Montgomery walked Collins to lead off the inning and Collins promptly stole second base without a throw. Ben Guez ripped a single to centerfield that him in for a 3-2 Toledo lead.
When Adam Liberatore replaced Montgomery on the mound, Daniel Fields pushed a bunt past Liberatore. The ball continued to roll until Durham second baseman Jayson Nix grabbed it just shy of the right-field grass. That allowed Guez to reached third on Fields’ bunt single.
Guez scored for a 4-2 Mud Hens lead when Brandon Douglas grounded into a force out.
That completed Montgomery’s pitching line at six innings pitched, six hits and four runs (all earned) allowed.
“I felt good going out there for the seventh,” Montgomery said. “That’s one of the things I hadn’t been able to do was go deep into games lately. So I wanted to get into the seventh or eighth inning.”
Earlier, Jeremy Moore continued his hot hitting to give the Bulls an early lead. Moore lead off the second inning with a double and scored on Nix’s single for a 1-0 Durham lead.
The double meant Moore has reached base in 15 consecutive games and 21 of his first 22 games with Durham following his promotion from Double-A Montgomery.
The Bulls lead disappeared in the fourth inning when James McCann doubled with two outs and Collins homered for a 2-1 Mud Hens lead.
The blast was just the second in 13 games allowed by Durham pitching and ended a stretch of 73 consecutive innings without allowing a home run.
Moore tied the score in the sixth inning with a solo home run, his sixth in a Durham uniform.
After Toledo took the 4-2 lead in the seventh off Montgomery and Liberatore, Vince Belnome hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh leaving the Mud Hens with a 4-3 lead.
Guez pushed Toledo’s advantage back to two runs with a solo home run off Brandon Gomes in the ninth inning.
That proved big in the bottom of the ninth when the Bulls put two runners on with one out against Toledo closer Kevin Whelan as Nix and Belnome singled.
But pinch hitter Mike Fontenot hit a routine fly ball to left and Ray Olmedo was called out on strikes to end the game.
NOTES — The Bulls and Mud Hens continue their four-game series tonight (7:05 p.m., WDNC-AM 620). Left-hander Enny Romero (4-10, 5.34 ERA) starts for Durham against Toledo’s lefty Mike Belfiore (2-5, 3.60) ... A crowd of 9,669 attended Friday night’s game. Durham started Friday eighth in the 14-team International League in attendance, averaging 7,274 per game.
Toledo Mud Hens (53-55) 5, Durham Bulls (56-49) 3
July 25, 2014
|Perez, H, SS||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.281|
|Fields, D, LF||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.217|
|Ray, R, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
2B: Douglas (11, Montgomery, M), McCann (24, Montgomery, M).
HR: Collins (16, 4th inning off Montgomery, M, 1 on, 2 out), Guez (12, 9th inning off Gomes, B, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Lennerton; Collins 4; McCann 3; Fields, D; Perez, H; Douglas 2; Guez 5.
RBI: Collins 2 (51), Guez 2 (32), Douglas (22).
2-out RBI: Collins 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Perez, H.
Team RISP: 2-for-5.
Team LOB: 5.
SB: Collins (11, 2nd base off Montgomery, M/Solis).
E: Hessman (8, fielding).
DP: (Perez, H-Douglas-Lennerton).
|Lee, H, SS||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.204|
|Nix, J, 2B||4||0||2||0||0||2||1||.263|
|Montgomery, M, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Gomes, B, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-Flied out for Solis in the 9th.|
2B: Moore (6, Ray, R).
HR: Moore (6, 6th inning off Ray, R, 0 on, 1 out), Belnome (8, 7th inning off McCoy, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Belnome 5; Moore 6; Betemit; Nix, J 2.
RBI: Moore (22), Belnome (35).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Christian; Mahtook 2; Solis; Olmedo.
Team RISP: 1-for-9.
Team LOB: 6.
|Ray, R (W, 6-4)||6.0||4||2||2||2||8||1||3.60|
|McCoy (H, 4)||2.0||1||1||1||0||1||1||2.74|
|Whelan (S, 18)||1.0||2||0||0||0||2||0||2.12|
|Montgomery, M (L, 9-3)||6.0||6||4||4||1||3||1||3.77|
Montgomery, M pitched to 2 batters in the 7th.
WP: Ray, R.
Pitches-strikes: Ray, R 98-70, McCoy 27-19, Whelan 16-12, Montgomery, M 90-54, Liberatore 26-19, Gomes, B 19-13.
Groundouts-flyouts: Ray, R 8-2, McCoy 1-0, Whelan 0-1, Montgomery, M 5-3, Liberatore 2-0, Gomes, B 1-0.
Batters faced: Ray, R 24, McCoy 7, Whelan 5, Montgomery, M 25, Liberatore 8, Gomes, B 4.
Inherited runners-scored: Liberatore 1-1.
Ejections: Toledo Mud Hens Pitching Coach Al Nipper ejected by HP umpire Max Guyll (8th)
Umpires: HP: Max Guyll. 1B: Angel Campos. 2B: A.J. Johnson. 3B: Tom Honec.
Weather: 82 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 4 mph, In from RF.
Venue: Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
July 25, 2014
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media