Karns, Bulls batter Toledo
Nathan Karns has found a groove on the mound and his Durham Bulls teammates are doing the same at the plate.
The result was another Bulls’ win as they streak toward another International League South Division title.
Karns turned in his fourth consecutive strong start and the Bulls blasted two home runs for the second game in a row as they topped Toledo 5-2 Monday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
After dropping four games in a row mostly due to a struggling offense Durham (58-50) won its second game in a row by reaching double-digits in hits for the second night in a row. The Bulls had 12 hits off the Mud Hens, including home runs from Ali Solis and Wilson Betemit.
“We are getting pitches to hit and not missing them,” said Bulls outfielder Justin Christian, who was 3-for-4 Monday night. “If you aren’t getting pitches to hit you are not going to be successful. Plus if you get pitches and you are missing them, that’s not going to work either. It’s just a matter of getting pitches and actually hitting them.”
The Bulls, who lead the division by eight games over second-place Norfolk, had plenty of offense with Karns (8-5) pitching well once again. After struggling for the first three months of the season, Karns is 4-0 in five July starts.
Karns had allowed just one earned run over his three previous starts entering Monday night’s game, when he pitched into the eighth inning.
He stifled Toledo for the majority of his outing as the Bulls built a 4-0 lead. Karns allowed two hits, while walking a batter, in the second inning but escaped with no runs scored.
Toledo didn’t get another hit off him until the eighth inning.
“He’s mixing it up now,” Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo said. “If he gets behind in the count, he throws his breaking pitches. Earlier in the year it used to be he was behind in the count and here comes the fastball. So that’s easy to hit. Now he’s mixing his pitches.”
Karns helped himself get out of trouble in the second inning. With runners at first and second with one out, he picked Toledo’s James McCann off second base. Tyler Collins took second while McCann was in a run down and Ben Guez lined a two-out single to left field.
But Durham’s Jeremy Moore fielded the ball cleanly and fired home, causing Collins to hold at third base.
Karns retired Daniel Fields on groundball to third to end the inning and keep the Mud Hens off the scoreboard.
And, with that, Karns settled in to keep Toledo quiet. From the third to seventh innings, Karns had two stretches where he retired seven Mud Hens in a row.
That ended when he went out to pitch the eighth inning. Collins singled and Guez lined a double up the gap in left-centerfield ending Karns shutout and his night of work.
But in 87 pitches, he allowed just four hits, striking out seven and issuing two walks.
Brandon Gomes replaced him and promptly allowed an RBI triple cutting Durham’s lead to 4-2. But Gomes got the next three hitters on two strikeouts and a groundball to end the Toledo threat.
After Gomes worked out the jam to protect Durham’s two-run lead, Betemit boosted it with a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth for a 5-2 Bulls lead.
The Bulls jumped ahead in the first inning when Betemit salvaged a rally with a two-out RBI single.
Christian lead off with a double and moved third when Ray Olmedo bunted and Toledo pitcher Duane Below threw wildly to first base.
With runners at first and third with no outs, Mikie Mahtook struck out and Moore lined out sharply to second base.
But Betemit lined a single to left to drive in Christian for a 1-0 Bulls lead. The rally ended there when Betemit was thrown out attempting to reach second base.
Durham used the long ball to extend its lead in the second inning when Solis lined a two-run home run into the grass beyond the centerfield wall.
The Bulls tacked on an insurance tally in the seventh with another two-out, run-scoring hit. Christian singled with one out, moved into scoring position on Olmedo’s groundout to second and scored on Mahtook’s single to left for a 4-0 Bulls lead.
Notes: The Bulls ended their eight-game homestand against Rochester and Toledo with a 3-4 record…Durham hits the road for a four-game series at Charlotte beginning tonight (7:05 p.m., WDNC-AM 620)….The Bulls don’t return home until Aug. 7 when they play at doubleheader against Buffalo beginning at 5:05 p.m…Monday night’s crowd of 5,580 pushed Durham over the 400,000 mark in attendance for the season. The Bulls have drawn 405,470 this season, averaging 7,372 per game.
July 28, 2014
|Perez, H, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.276|
|Fields, D, CF||3||0||1||1||0||0||3||.219|
2B: Guez (17, Karns), McCann (27, Lueke).
3B: Fields, D (2, Gomes, B).
TB: Collins; McCann 3; Fields, D 3; Guez 3.
RBI: Guez (35), Fields, D (17).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Fields, D; Perez, H; Collins.
GIDP: Fields, D.
Team RISP: 2-for-7.
Team LOB: 4.
SB: McCann (6, 2nd base off Karns/Solis).
CS: McCann (1, 3rd base by Karns/Solis).
E: Below (2, throw).
Outfield assists: Guez (Betemit at 2nd base).
DP: 3 (Hessman-Worth-Lennerton 2, Perez, H-Worth-Lennerton).
|Nix, J, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.270|
|Lee, H, SS||3||0||1||0||0||1||1||.203|
2B: Christian 2 (26, Below, Below).
HR: Solis (2, 2nd inning off Below, 1 on, 1 out), Betemit (16, 8th inning off McCoy, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Solis 4; Moore; Betemit 5; Lee, H; Belnome; Christian 5; Nix, J; Mahtook 2.
RBI: Betemit 2 (45), Solis 2 (19), Mahtook (54).
2-out RBI: Betemit; Mahtook.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Mahtook 2; Moore.
GIDP: Betemit, Solis, Belnome.
Team RISP: 2-for-8.
Team LOB: 6.
SB: Mahtook (13, 2nd base off McCoy/McCann).
DP: (Betemit-Lee, H-Betemit).
|Below (L, 8-5)||6.0||8||3||2||2||2||1||3.73|
|Karns (W, 8-5)||7.0||4||2||2||2||7||0||4.76|
|Gomes, B (H, 5)||1.0||1||0||0||0||2||0||3.16|
|Liberatore (H, 8)||0.2||0||0||0||0||2||0||2.08|
McCoy pitched to 1 batter in the 8th.
Karns pitched to 2 batters in the 8th.
Pitches-strikes: Below 80-54, McCoy 29-19, Reed, E 9-6, Karns 90-58, Gomes, B 17-11, Liberatore 10-6, Lueke 6-5.
Groundouts-flyouts: Below 11-1, McCoy 2-0, Reed, E 2-0, Karns 6-4, Gomes, B 1-0, Liberatore 0-0, Lueke 0-0.
Batters faced: Below 26, McCoy 6, Reed, E 3, Karns 25, Gomes, B 4, Liberatore 2, Lueke 2.
Inherited runners-scored: Gomes, B 1-1.
Umpires: HP: Tom Honec. 1B: Max Guyll. 2B: Angel Campos. 3B: A.J. Johnson.
Weather: 86 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 8 mph, Out to RF.