IronPigs again take advantage of Bulls' struggles
Some sloppy fielding and another slow day at the plate meant the Durham Bulls’ disappointing homestand continued on Sunday.
Two Durham errors fed Lehigh Valley’s four-run, sixth-inning outburst, and the IronPigs defeated the Bulls 6-4 in International League baseball at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The loss is the fifth in Durham’s past seven games, all coming at home. Before the past week, Durham (22-15) had dropped only three home games this season.
“We like playing here at home, and we had a good record here prior to this homestand,” Durham outfielder Jason Bourgeois said. “We’ll get back on track here. If we can handle it now and get back on track, we’ll be fine.”
Bourgeois was responsible for one of the Bulls' errors in the sixth inning when he misplayed a single into a three-base error that cleared the bases and allowed Lehigh Valley to take a 6-0 lead.
After struggling against Lehigh Valley starting pitcher B.J. Rosenberg for seven innings, Durham rallied with four runs on four hits in the eighth inning against IronPigs relief pitcher Cesar Jimenez.
But, representing the tying run at the plate, Durham cleanup hitter Shelley Duncan struck out. Leslie Anderson was retired by a fly ball to center field to end the threat and leave the Bulls down by two runs.
Having lost 9-3 on Saturday night, the Bulls only managed to score in one inning, the eighth, on Sunday.
“I don’t want to say I’m frustrated, but when I write the lineup, on paper it looks good," Bulls manage Charlie Montoyo said. "But like I’ve said before, I know we are going to hit. I see the kids struggle, but I know it’s a good lineup we have. I’ve got to keep preaching and hopefully we’re going to get hot.”
Bourgeois had two of Durham’s eight hits Sunday as the Bulls had one more hit than Lehigh Valley. His two-run double with the bases loaded in the eighth inning got the Bulls on the scoreboard. Bourgeois scored Durham’s fourth run on a balk.
But the eighth inning was the only one in which the Bulls had two runners on base at the same time.
“I think guys are pressing a little bit and not letting things happen,” Bourgeois said. “Guys are getting a little bit anxious, I think, and wanting to get back because we started off so well.”
Durham starting pitcher Alex Torres needed 103 pitches to last 5.2 innings. He allowed single runs in the second and fourth innings but limited the damage otherwise.
That is until the sixth inning, when things came unraveled for the Bulls and they fell behind 6-0.
Josh Fields started the Lehigh Valley inning with a fly ball to deep right field that bounced off the top of the wall for a double. Fields took third on a sacrifice bunt, and Humberto Quintero was hit by a pitch before Durham’s fielding madness began.
With runners at first and third, Michael Martinez hit a sharp ground ball directly to Durham first baseman Leslie Anderson. His throw home caught Fields in a rundown, and he was tagged for the inning’s second out by Durham third baseman Cole Figueroa.
While that was going on, Quintero attempted to run from first to third. Figueroa, after tagging out Fields, whirled and threw to third. But his throw deflected off Quintero and into foul territory for an error.
Quintero scored Lehigh Valley’s first run of the inning and Martinez wound up at second base. After Torres walked Steve Susdorf, Cesar Hernandez hit a sinking line drive to right field that Bourgeois attempted to field on one hop. But the ball bounced past him and rolled to the wall.
That allowed both base runners to score and Hernandez circled the bases, on a single and a three-base error, to give the IronPigs a 6-0 lead.
“That’s just bad defense on my part,” Bourgeois said. “I know I have to keep it in front of me. I just hate it cost us so many doggone runs.”
NOTES — Durham’s eight-game homestand ends today with a 1:05 p.m. game against Lehigh Valley. Righthander Alex Colome (1-5) starts for Durham with fellow righty Zach Minor on the mound for the IronPigs. ... With Sunday’s crowd of 6,567, Durham and Lehigh Valley have averaged 8,754 for the first three games of the series. The Bulls have averaged 6,871 fans per game for the first seven games of the homestand. Durham’s season attendance average is 6,312 per game.
IronPigs 6, Bulls 4
Hernandez 2b|4|1|2|1|Thompson cf|3|1|1|0
Asche 3b|5|0|0|0|Bourgeois rf|4|1|2|2
Ruf lf|3|2|2|0|Fontenot ss|4|0|1|1
Overbeck 1b|4|0|1|1|Duncan dh|4|0|0|0
Fields dh|4|0|1|1|Anderson 1b|4|0|1|0
Castro cf|3|0|0|0|Guyer lf|4|0|0|0
Quintero c|3|1|0|0|Belnome 2b|3|1|1|0
Martinez ss|3|1|0|0|Figueroa 3b|4|1|2|0
Susdorf rf|3|1|1|0|Apodaca c|3|0|0|0
E—Figueroa, Bourgeois. LOB—Lehigh Valley 8, Durham 4. 2B—Rug, Overbeck, Fields, Bourgeois 2, Figueroa. S—Castro. SF—Fields. SB—Susdorf (1), Hernandez (10).
Rosenberg (W, 1-3)|7.0|4|0|0|1|3
Diekman (S, 3)|1.0|0|0|0|0|1
Torres (L, 2-2)|5.2|7|6|4|3|8
WP—Torres. Balk—Jimenez. HBP: Quintero (by Torres). Umpires—HP, Kelvin Bultron; 1B, Travis Carlson; 3B, Ryan Blakney. T—3:03. A—6,567.