IronPigs cash in on Bulls’ pitching woes
Durham Bulls pitchers handed Lehigh Valley its first four runs on Saturday night.
The IronPigs’ Cody Asche took that many more on one swing of his bat in the seventh inning.
After the Bulls issued four bases-loaded walks to fall behind, Asche’s grand slam highlighted Lehigh Valley’s seven-run, seventh inning that rally that fueled a 9-3 lopsided win over Durham.
The game attracted a crowd of 10,052 to Durham Bulls Athletic Park, the largest crowd of the season. It eclipsed the team’s previous best of 9,644, established on Friday night.
But Saturday’s large gathering saw a sub-par display from the Bulls (22-14).
Durham’s pitchers issued nine walks, including free passes that forced in runs with the bases loaded in the third, fourth and seventh innings, and hit a batter while also allowing 13 hits.
“It all starts with the pitching,” Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo said.
Durham’s situation was complicated by injury and a short roster. The Bulls are playing with two fewer relief pitchers than normal after Josh Lueke was called up to Tampa Bay on Friday while Frank De Los Santos was placed on the disabled list.
Chris Archer, the Bulls’ starter on Saturday, already was on a short pitch count that would have limited him to five innings. But Archer lasted only three.
In the third, after he became the first Durham pitcher of the night to walk in a run, Archer was struck by a ball off the bat of Lehigh Valley’s Cody Overbeck. With the bases loaded, Archer scrambled to throw Overbeck out at first and leave Lehigh Valley with only a 1-0 lead.
But the lower right side of Archer’s torso tightened up on him while the Bulls were batting, and he was removed from the game.
“When a pitcher says he’s tight, that’s it,” Montoyo said.
Archer left after allowing three hits, three walks and one run.
Jim Paduch replaced him for the next three innings. In his first inning, the fourth, Paduch allowed the first six batters he faced to reach base. Amazingly, the Iron Pigs managed only one run, which came on a two-out, bases-loaded walk to Cesar Hernandez that gave them a 2-0 lead.
Paduch benefitted from his defense, which cut down two Lehigh Valley runners on the base paths in the inning.
Meanwhile, the Bulls were shut down by Lehigh Valley starting pitcher Ethan Martin. Durham had just two hits over the first six innings, and Martin struck out six in a row during the third and fourth innings.
The Bulls finally scored against Martin in the seventh inning when Shelley Duncan singled and Mike Fontenot smacked a two-run home run to center field. Of course, that mini-rally came after the IronPigs had built a 9-0 lead.
For the night, Martin allowed two runs and four hits over his six innings, striking out seven.
Despite their problems on the mound and at the plate, the Bulls trailed by only two runs entering the seventh inning. At that point, Lehigh Valley had put 15 runners on base.
“It was amazing to look up at one time and see that we were only down 2-0,” Montoyo said.
That changed against Will Inman, Durham’s third pitcher. With two outs and one runner on base, Inman walked Pete Orr and hit Humberto Quintero with a pitch to load the bases.
Walks to Steve Susdorf and Jermaine Mitchell forced in two more runs for a 4-0 IronPigs lead, before Hernandez’s infield single made it 5-0.
Asche, batting next, slammed a grand slam to turn the game into a rout.
NOTES — Lehigh Valley and Durham continue their four-game series today with another 5:05 p.m. start. Left-hander Alex Torres (2-1, 1.69) will start for the Bulls with righty B.J. Rosenberg on the mound for the IronPigs. ... After losing only three home games over the season’s first month, the Bulls have dropped four of six games this week on their current home stand.
IronPigs 9, Bulls 3
Mitchell cf|4|1|2|1|Thompson cf|5|0|0|0
Hernandez 2b|4|1|1|2|Guyer rf|5|0|1|0
Asche 3b|5|1|2|4|Myers dh|3|0|0|1
Ruf lf|4|1|2|1|Anderson lf|5|0|0|0
Overbeck 1b|5|0|2|0|Duncan 1b|4|1|2|0
Castro rf|5|0|1|0|Fontenot 2b|3|1|2|2
Orr ss|4|1|1|0|Gimenez c|3|0|1|0
Quintero c|3|2|0|0|Figueroa 3b|3|0|1|0
Susdorf dh|3|2|2|1|Beckham ss|4|1|1|0
E—Orr, Castro. DP—Durham 1. LOB—Lehigh Valley 11, Durham 10. 2B—Mitchell, Susdorf, Fontenot, Duncan. HR—Asche (3), Fontenot (1). SF—Myers. SB—Mitchell (6).
Martin (W, 3-2)|6.0|4|2|2|2|7
Archer (L, 4-2)|3.0|3|1|1|3|4
Martin pitched to 2 in the 7th.
WP—Martin. HBP—Quintero (by Inman), Fontenot (by Stutes). Umpires—HP, Ryan Blakney; 1B, Kelvin Bultron; 3B, Travis Carlson. T—3:16. A—10,052.